(Chicago, May 20, 2010) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has selected middle school students Dana Gattone, Angel Loizzo and Maggie O’Brien from St. Philip the Apostle School in Addision, Ill., as regional winners of the 2010 President's Environmental Youth Award. Winners from each of EPA's 10 regions were recognized today at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
"The work of these motivated students shows that you can be an environmental champion at any age. It is inspiring to see such talented young people taking an active interest in the world around them," said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur.
The three students formed the Recycle Because You Care team. When they discovered that less than one-fourth of the households in their neighborhood recycle, they decided to take action. With support from the mayor of Addison, RBYC worked with Addison Public Works and Allied Waste to distribute recycling bins in Addison and disseminate information about recycling information. They helped implement a new recycling program at their school and shared their successes with school administrators.
RBYC created a public service announcement run by the local cable access channel, and developed and taught a recycling class at a local library. As a result of these efforts, the teens helped keep 85 Tons of trash out of landfills in October 2009, or over 2 million pounds per year in Addison alone. They hope to spread the message to other area mayors and get recycling legislation passed in Illinois.
The second place winners are Lauren and Irene Gibson, Nicki Hutchins, Kristen Palamara, and Emily Roberts. The students participate in Carmel Area Roots & Shoots in Carmel, Ind., and created and administer the Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant Program. Their program raises environmental awareness, builds community unity and empowers youth. The Carmel Green Teen grants program has funded projects such as improvement of an organic community garden at a local church and the launch of a reusable shopping bag campaign with local scouts.
The third place winner is Jordyn Schara from Reedsburg, Wis., assisted by students from Pontiac High School in Pontiac. Ill. Schara was recognized for the Wisconsin and Illinois P2D2 Program (Prescription Drug Disposal Program), which was adapted from a model in Illinois. Through education and “drug take-back” collection events, the program keeps unused prescription medications out the waste stream in Illinois and Wisconsin and helps keep drugs out of the hands of teenagers. More than 440 pounds of drugs were collected at the first event.
The President's Environmental Youth Awards program is an annual contest sponsored by EPA to honor creative environmental projects developed and implemented by K-12 students. The winning projects were chosen from entries submitted by students in EPA Region 5’s six states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.