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EPA Wants Nominations for Environmental Champion Awards


The Environmental Protection Agency will accept nominations until Feb. 7 for its annual Environmental Champion Awards for individuals, businesses and organizations that have significantly contributed to improving the environment and protecting public health.

While the name has changed from Environmental Quality Awards, the intent is still to honor those who work among six different categories: business and industry; individual citizen; nonprofit organization; environmental or community group; environmental education; federal, state, local or tribal government or agency; and media. The winners will be honored at an awards event April 24, which is around the same time as Earth Day celebrations.

"What better way to mark the annual celebration of Earth Day than by honoring those organizations, businesses and individuals whose work has protected the environment and improved public health,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck said in a press release issued Tuesday.

“Environmental protection is something that no one person or group can do alone. We need to foster an environmental ethic in corporate board rooms, in city halls and in neighborhoods across the country – and that’s the kind of work our Environmental Champion Award recipients do.”

The EPA’s Region 2 has given out the awards for more than a decade.

In the Virgin Islands, Harold Mark won last year’s award in the federal, state, local or tribal government or agency category for his work at the Planning and Natural Resources Department and for going above and beyond his duties as environmental manager of the Drinking Water Program.

Marcia Taylor won in the individual citizen category because for three years, she volunteered 30 to 40 hours of her time every month to implement a grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Her work has resulted in reducing the sediment pollution in three bays across the Virgin Islands by approximately 124 tons per year. In addition, Taylor works as an outreach specialist and coordinates Coastweeks, a program that gets Virgin Islanders involved in cleaning coastal areas.

Virgin Islands Montessori School and International Academy won in the 2014 Environmental Education category for its leadership efforts in protecting the environment. Since 2008, the school has installed solar systems that have decreased its electric bill from $84,000 a year to zero. It has also established a student-run recycling program and made teaching about sustainable energy alternatives part of its curriculum.

Last year’s award winners are not eligible. Award winners from 2013 and before are eligible but must be renominated for consideration in 2015. Self-nominations are welcome.

EPA’s Region 2 includes New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and eight federally recognized Indian Nations.

For award criteria, prior winners and nomination instructions, visit EPA’s Environmental Champion Award webpage at http://www.epa.gov/region2/eqa.


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