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Fourth Grade Students from Ellisville, Mo., to Receive EPA Region 7’s 2012 President's Environmental Youth Award

Release Date: 04/22/2013
Contact Information: Denise Morrison, 913-551-7402, morrison.denise@epa.gov

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Lenexa, Kan., April 22, 2013) - Fourth grade students from the Rockwood School District’s Center for Creative Learning in Ellisville, Mo., have been selected to receive EPA Region 7’s 2012 President’s Environmental Youth Award for their work on an Action4Air vehicle anti-idling campaign to reduce idling at the Center for Creative Learning.

Nationally, the President’s Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA) have been presented annually since 1971 to honor students in kindergarten through 12th grade who develop projects that help protect their environment and promote environmental awareness in their communities.

"These students have demonstrated awesome initiative and tremendous stewardship skills to minimize vehicle idling. This project is increasing the public's knowledge about vehicle idling and motivating parents and bus drivers to shut off cars and buses in the school and bus pick-up lines," said Karl Brooks, Regional Administrator. "This Action4Air project is informing, raising community awareness about air pollution, and improving the health of children. This is an outstanding achievement in environmental protection by the students."

The Rockwood School District’s fourth graders set two goals for their project: reduce vehicle idling on campus and spread the message. Students examined idling toolkits from around the country. They created four action groups to get the work done: design, message, pick-up line and permanent signage. The design group documented the students’ work. The message group raised awareness about the anti-idling campaign. The pick-up line group studied and made plans on how to decrease idling by buses and parents. The signage group wrote formal proposals to school administrators asking for permission to put signs in the parking lot.

Students completed a survey of idling cars in the county and in the parent pick-up line so they could compare measurements and see if the campaign was meeting its goals. When the campaign began, students completed a survey to find out the amount of idling that occurred in the parent pick-up line and the bus line. In the first year, all bus idling stopped at the Center for Creative Learning and parent vehicle idling decreased from 53 percent to 38 percent. When the survey was completed again in the fall, parent vehicle idling decreased another 11 percent.

Students have spread the message about their project through media coverage and the Center for Creative Learning’s Action4Air website , created by the students.

The documentary on the website shows what the current students have done for the campaign. It also shows students every semester how the campaign started. The students asked the teacher to share it with each new class of students so the mission could be carried on. This is the fourth semester of students who have seen the documentary and contributed to the campaign, all because of the mission of the first group. The students continue the campaign each semester, building upon the work of previous groups.

Permanent anti-idling signs were designed and purchased by students. These signs are now posted in the Center for Creative Learning’s parking lot. The students wrote an anti-idling proposal that was presented to the school board in October 2012. This policy was approved in February 2013, making the Rockwood School District the first in the region to have a vehicle anti-idling policy that will improve air quality, save money, and improve the health of children.

To be considered for the 2013 PEYA competition in Region 7, applications must be submitted no later than Dec. 31, 2013. For applications, contact Denise Morrison at EPA Region 7’s Office of Public Affairs at 913-551-7402, toll-free at 1-800-223-0425, or morrison.denise@epa.gov.

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