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Bay State Individuals and Groups Receive Prestigious Regional Environmental Awards

Release Date: 05/03/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - May 3, 2006) - Four Bay Staters and three Massachusetts groups will be honored on Thursday, May 4 in Boston’s Faneuil Hall as EPA presents the 2006 Environmental Merit Awards.

Recognizing significant contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving, the Massachusetts awardees included two for individual contributions, two for business, industry and professional organizations, one for efforts by local, state or federal governments, and two lifetime achievement awards.

Given out by EPA since 1970, the merit awards honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts to preserve the region's environment. This year's competition drew approximately 50 nominations from across New England.

“These awards are among the highest honors EPA can bestow to recognize environmental accomplishments,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England Office. “The work of these individuals, organizations and businesses reflect the best attributes of New Englanders, working to find solutions to environmental issues. I offer my gratitude for their extraordinary contributions in protecting the environment.”

The winners from Massachusetts were among 19 from across New England. Awards were given in the categories of individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization. Also, each year EPA may present lifetime achievement awards for individuals.

Environmental Merit Award Winners from Massachusetts are:

Lifetime Achievement Environmental Merit Award:
Alexandra Dawson

Lawyer, advocate and teacher, Alexandra has changed the landscape through her own direct efforts as well as through her influence on the work on the countless public officials and citizen she has inspired. She has devoted the past thirty-five years to environmental protection in Massachusetts and throughout New England. Her commitment is demonstrated by her long and concurrent service as Director of Legal Affairs for the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC), Co-Director of the Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee, and Director of the Resource Management and Administration Program at Antioch in New Hampshire. Over her long career, Ms. Dawson has always been an activist. She has written columns for newspapers, advocated for revisions to state regulations, opposed some projects and supported others. She is well known for her role as a consultant—not to project proponents but to cities, towns, and concerned citizens who struggle to find legal solutions to environmental and land use problems. She serves as a chair of her conservation commission in Hadley, and has developed and reviewed municipal bylaws and ordinances to protect wetlands resources. Alexandra’s dedication, professionalism, talent and commitment to the environment will be remembered always and are honored today.

Lifetime Achievement Environmental Merit Award:
Judeth Van Hamm

Over the past three decades Judeth Van Hamm has dedicated herself to environmental causes ranging from a “sustainable” South Shore, climate change and recycling to preserving open space in her hometown of Hull, MA. Judeth has been instrumental in the development of the Weir River Estuary Park Land Protection Plan, which has been designated an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). The Weir River Estuary is one of the last remaining salt marshes in the Greater Boston area, and is the habitat to a variety of fish, shellfish and waterfowl. If it was not for Judeth’s vision of keeping the Weir River Estuary Park “forever wild,” the habitat would have undoubtedly suffered much more encroachment. She has also led the development of the Weir River Estuary Center; a place where future generations of youth can learn and develop value for their environment. A community leader, Judeth has shared her vision, and led her community to make land preservation a priority in one of the most densely populated towns in the state. She is honored today for aiding Massachusetts in retaining some of its most valued natural resources.

Individual Environmental Merit Award:
Jennifer Carlino
Conservation Director, Town of Norton, Massachusetts

Jennifer Carlino is being recognized for her innovation and ambition to preserve open space and protect conservation areas in and around Norton, Mass. Through her determination and ingenuity, Ms. Carlino is directly responsible for the permanent preservation of over 119 acres of land and under Jennifer’s direction the Town of Norton increased its acreage of permanently protected land from 9 percent to 19.5 percent. Ms. Carlino researched the deeds for conservation land and recorded the respective town meeting votes at the Registry of Deeds for property transferred to conservation management. The steps she took to record town meeting votes will prevent an accidental sale of protected land, a problem for most Massachusetts communities. Among many other notable preservation efforts Jennifer is responsible for: negotiating conservation restrictions within proposed residential developments in order to protect 18 acres along the Canoe River; negotiating conservation restrictions for 76 acres to protect a wildlife corridor extending from the Great Woods area to the Wading River; securing a 25-acre donation of land containing six vernal pools; certifying 19 vernal pools with the Mass. Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program; completing a survey for the Conservation Commission’s 940 acres of protected land and water bodies; and authoring the Town of Norton’s Five-year Open Space and Recreation Plan.

Individual Environmental Merit Award:
Ellen Mass
President, Friends of Alewife Reservation

Like few other people, Ellen Mass has brought many groups and individuals together to give the greater Alewife ecosystem a significant place in the minds and hearts of the citizens of Belmont, Arlington, Cambridge and surrounding communities. As President of the Friends of Alewife Reservation, Ellen has worked tirelessly for the past six years on behalf of a small, but significant urban wild of 130 acres. Owned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, this urban swath of land receives constant attention and stewardship under Ellen’s leadership. Ms. Mass has organized over 100 reservation clean-up days, enlisting helpers through local neighborhood groups, classes, and community service organizations. Ellen has worked with Lesley University to develop a successful public forum on improvement projects for the Alewife sub-watershed; held forums and educational events; organized canoe trips, sponsored multiple naturalist docent training sessions and reservation walks; and led a two-year Mural Project that resulted in a 90 foot mural featuring wildlife of the Alewife Reservation which is prominently displayed at the Alewife T stop. Ellen is currently orchestrating an impressive multi-agency effort to restore natural buffers on a 10-acre parcel of the Reservation. Ellen has made a significant contribution to the Alewife Reservation and has heightened our environmental awareness of this important urban jewel.

Environmental, Community, Academia & Non-Profit Organization Environmental Merit Award:
Safe Routes to School Program
Lexington, MA

The Safe Routes to School Program is a creative community approach to encouraging non-car transportation. Sparked by a survey of parents who identified concerns for their children’s safety as the primary reason for not allowing them to walk or bike to school, the Program successfully worked to overcome many obstacles in order to allow children to walk safely. The Program is a collaborative effort of Lexington’s Bridge Elementary School parents, the PTA staff, the School Committee, the Board of Selectmen and the Department of Public Works, and encourages students at the school to use any form of transportation, other than automobiles, to get to school. Of the 320 potential walkers, as many as 200 walked, biked, or rode their scooters to school, vastly reducing the volume of single car transportation to and from school. The Program worked collaboratively with the Sidewalk Committee, which identified main walking routes, and Public Works employees who repainted heavily used crosswalks and strategically placed “Yield to Pedestrians” signs. Students who participated received ribbons to acknowledge their awareness of the benefits of reduced car traffic, and designated meeting points were established for families to safely gather and walk together. The Program resulted in reduced traffic and car pollution by more than 50% during the program’s kickoff week and families were encouraged to continue the program throughout the year. The success of the Safe Routes to School Program has paved the way for Lexington’s four other elementary schools to adopt similar programs this spring.

Business, Industry and Professional Organizations Environmental Merit Award:
Beacon Capital Partners LLC

Throughout 2005, Beacon Capital Partners LLC implemented a comprehensive energy conservation and awareness program involving all of its building employees and tenants. The program established a monthly tracking report to monitor the energy consumption at all of the properties in Beacon’s portfolio and implement energy efficiency measures at three landmark Boston buildings: John Hancock Tower, the Berkeley and Brown Buildings, and the Newbry at 501 Boylston - formerly the New England Life Insurance Building. These ENERGY STAR labeled buildings accounted for more than half of the total square footage of labeled building space in New England in 2005. The John Hancock Tower is the tallest building in New England at 790 feet and scored an impressive 77 out of 100 on the ENERGY STAR national performance rating system. EPA calculates that the building uses one-third less energy than similar buildings and avoids 30 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions; all while saving $3.5 million in annual energy bills. The three buildings together comprise nearly 5 million square feet, collectively save nearly $7 million each year, and prevent more than 65 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Because of their extraordinary successes, Beacon Capital Partners LLC continues to implement energy conservation measures throughout their portfolio and is encouraging tenants to reduce energy in their areas by implementing a comprehensive Energy Awareness Program, including a recycling program that currently reuses 60 percent of paper waste at all properties and to monitor energy savings after the implementation of energy conservation measures.

Business, Industry and Professional Organizations Environmental Merit Award:
New England Lead Free Electronics Consortium

Comprised of New England companies representing the entire printed wiring board (PWB) supply chain, the New England Lead Free Electronics Consortium utilizes the “cradle to cradle” approach to research, design, and test lead free circuit boards for use in the electronics industry. Their goal is to demonstrate the feasibility of achieving lead free electronics assembly with comparable reliability to current leaded technology. This project has been going on for five years and will lead to the removal of approximately 6,500 lbs. of lead per year from the Massachusetts electronics industry. Lead, a toxic chemical that has been linked to health and behavioral problems, is released into the environment through the disposal of lead-containing products to landfills and incinerators. It has been chosen by the National Waste Minimization Partnership Program and is a cornerstone of EPA’s Resource Conservation Challenge. Because lead is commonly found in the soldering used in disposable electronic equipment, this project stands to significantly reduce environmental lead and make long lasting changes in the way New England companies manufacture their goods. This approach and its results have been shared with the electronics industry world wide through the outreach of various consortium members.

Additional information is available at: http://www.epa.gov/region1/ra/ema/index.html