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Awards recognize contributions to environmental education, stewardship
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality recognized 18 teachers and 63 students from across the U.S. for their outstanding contributions to environmental education and stewardship.
These 2015 winners and honorable mentions for the annual President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) and 2015/2016 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) were honored at a ceremony at the White House. The event included remarks from Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator; Dr. John Holdren, President Obama’s chief senior advisor; and John King, secretary of education.
"These teacher and student winners are exemplary leaders, committed to strong environmental conservation and tackling problems, including landfill waste and climate change head on,” said McCarthy. “Environmental education cultivates our next generation of leaders by teaching them how to apply skills in creativity and innovation. I have no doubt that teachers and students like these will someday solve some of our most complex and important issues.”
The PIAEE awards recognize innovative environmental educators who integrate environmental learning into their classrooms using hands-on, experiential approaches. Winning teachers led unique programs such as working with a local symphony orchestra to create music inspired by nature, raising horseshoe crabs, researching the impact of surface coal mining on salamander diversity, forming a job shadowing program, and starting an international collaboration with a school in Taiwan.
The PEYA awards recognize outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth. Student projects featured activities such as creating a new, eco-friendly fertilizer, restoring and conserving local habitats, promoting recycling and other waste reduction methods, analyzing the impact of solar panel installation, exploring a new water pollution mitigation method, and analyzing storm water flow and flood risk.