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EPA Celebrates Earth Day by Recognizing Seven from New Hampshire With Environmental Merit Awards

Release Date: 04/22/2003
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON – In honor of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office today recognized seven individuals and organizations from New Hampshire with Environmental Merit Awards, including two lifetime achievement awards. The awards, given out since 1970, 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 nearly 100 nominations from across New England.

"The individuals and groups we are honoring today are New England's real environmental heroes," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "Often with little fanfare, they have invested huge amounts of their time to make New England's environment cleaner and safer for future generations. We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude."

The winners from New Hampshire were among 40 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, for the first time, special lifetime achievement awards were presented this year.

Winners from New Hampshire were:

Lifetime Achievement Awards:

Robert Miller, Nature Conservancy, Concord, NH
As Great Bay Project Director for the Nature Conservancy's New Hampshire office, Robert Miller is the point man for one of the most innovative land conservation projects in the country, the nine-year-old Great Bay Resource Protection Partnership. This effort focuses on an area in southeastern New Hampshire facing heavy development pressures that threaten the ecological health of Great Bay, a vital habitat for waterfowl, eagles and other birds, as well as an important estuarine nursery for saltwater fisheries. As the partnership's lead acquisition agent and grant administrator, Miller has overseen the strategic use of nearly $30 million in funding from NOAA and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. He meets with landowners, negotiates for land and keeps his ear to the ground for possible future land acquisitions. He also has a solid understanding of the ecological underpinnings of the partnership's work which are geared around scientifically-sound priorities to protect Great Bay. So far, thanks in large part to Miller's leadership, the partnership has permanently protected 2,440 acres by outright purchase and 1,523 acres by conservation easement, including more than a mile of shoreline. His leadership and vision will serve many future generations of New Englanders.

Walworth B. Williams, Winchester, MA and Hampstead, NH
Walworth B. Williams is credited for helping preserve, via conservation restrictions, over 1,000 acres of watershed land around Big Island Pond in Hampstead, Derry and Atkinson, NH. Williams helped make the Big Island Pond Corp. an effective organization that prevented pollution, overcrowding and unsafe boating. He was secretary and treasurer of the organization for three decades and edited the newsletter that went to 400-plus members. In addition, he volunteered for the Society for the Protection of NH Forests and the NH Lakes Association, where he is an honorary director. He also has worked with the NH Timberland Association, and was responsible for a town-wide trail system in Hampstead that has been a model for many other towns. A new section has been added every year for the past 10 years and the trails are now used extensively by Hampstead schools for nature and environmental studies. Williams, 84, is a natural leader whose work has made a huge impact on the state of New Hampshire.

Individual Awards

Mary Tebo, Manchester, NH
Mary Tebo, a community forestry educator at the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, has been hugely involved in protecting Manchester and Hillsborough County's urban ecosystems. Much of Tebo's work in Manchester has been as chairperson of the Millyard Landscape Revitalization Committee, a multi-faceted group that developed and implemented a plan to revitalize the landscape of the historic Amoskeag Millyard. The plan emphasizes using sustainable practices on a series of adjacent properties to connect the Millyard and the Merrimack River to the downtown business district. The group has already received two grants totaling $145,000 to implement the master plan. Tebo also serves on the board of the Friends of the Valley Cemetery, a grassroots group committed to restoring the historic Valley Cemetery, the largest Center City greenspace in Manchester. Along with supporting the creation of a master plan, she helped identify tree species in the cemetery, some of which are the largest and oldest trees in the Center City. She then worked with the city and Intown Manchester to secure a $44,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to begin tree maintenance, removal and planting. In other Center City neighborhoods, Tebo coordinates Tree Steward volunteers and residents of two temporary housing facilities for the homeless to create peaceful greenspaces.

Organizations

Alton Conservation Commission, Alton, NH
Alton Conservation Commission members volunteer numerous hours to protect the natural resources of their town. They meet twice a month, do field visits, monitor easements and research projects. Last year the commission reviewed 82 state wetlands permit applications, paying careful attention to environmental impacts. The group has tirelessly worked to preserve the water quality of Lake Winnipesaukee, Merrymeeting River and other local water bodies. The group has jurisdiction over the Town Forest and has helped establish a trail on this property over the past few years. The project was done in coordination with the Highway Department and the Parks and Recreation Department. Members also assist annually in the local Household Hazardous Waste Day. Work like this is often thankless. Today we thank the Alton Conservation Commission.

Multi-Site Landfill Closure and Park Improvement Project, Nashua, NH
Nashua's Multi-Site Project involved the reconstruction of five city parks and recreational areas that had been built in the 1960s over landfills with inadequate landfill caps and other engineering designs. Concerned by deteriorating conditions at the parks, the new city administration launched the improvement project in 2000. The $5.3 million project required effective integration and coordination of funding, regulatory approvals, design and construction. Landfill gas management, storm water drainage and long-term cap stability were just a few of the issues that had to be tackled. A detailed health risk assessment also was completed and shared with the public. The project created designs for five top-rate parks and recreation areas in spots once viewed as liabilities. Three of the sites are completed and the other two will be done this summer. In just over two years, the landfill closure and improvement actions have added over 30 acres of premium parks and recreation areas to Nashua's park system while substantially increasing the level of environmental protection.

New Hampshire Private Well Initiative Team, Concord, NH
When employees at the N.H. Department of Environmental Services' Water Supply Engineering Bureau became concerned that residents with private wells should be aware of possible health risks from their water, they formed the Private Well Initiative Team. The team, which includes Bernie Lucey, Nicole Clegg, Paul Susca and Rick Schofield, launched a year-long radio campaign that included a half-dozen public service announcements. In addition to encouraging homeowners to test their well water, the radio spots focused on water conservation, appropriate disposal of household hazardous waste and watershed and groundwater protection. To reinforce the message, staff developed a well-testing poster and accompanying brochure that were distributed town by town through a collaborative effort with local health officials. The campaign has been well received. In addition to getting more calls from homeowners, the Water Supply Bureau has seen an increase in private well water sampling requests at the State Laboratory. In 2003, the team will be holding "healthy home" seminars to educate realtors, lenders and building inspectors about drinking water and other topics related to healthy homes.

Business and Industry

Target Corp./Target Stores, Minneapolis, MN
The Target Corp. has demonstrated how a large retail operation can make significant strides in environmental improvements and reducing waste. Recycling goals are set for each store based on sales amounts. Last year, company stores recycled over 270,000 tons of materials and additionally reduced waste through community salvage programs. In New England alone, Target's 27 stores last year recycled 6,766 tons of paper and cardboard. The company also recycles outdated computers, aluminum, cadmium, nickel, lead acid, aluminum and shrink-wrap (as well as glass and bottle recycling on a local level). Target also works with vendors to reduce product packaging. Nearly 100 percent of the clothing Target sells arrives without excess packaging and 95 percent of all shoes arrive without stuffing. Target also requests that overseas vendors ship goods in traditional corrugated cardboard, without rice paper, ensuring that boxes can be recycled. Target's Environmental Team is also active in national recycling and cleanup programs. Last year, more than 6,300 volunteers participated in the Keep America Beautiful Operation Clean Up America. The results of those efforts: 83 playgrounds cleaned and 26,000 flowers planted.