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EPA Honors Environmental Advocates for Exemplary Work; Fifteen Individuals, Scientists, Business People, Government Workers, Educators and Journalists from New York State Are Recognized for Environmental Accomplishments

Release Date: 04/18/2000
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(#00068) New York, New York -- As part of its celebration of the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored 15 individuals, educators, businesses, advocacy groups, governmental agency representatives and journalists from New York for their diligent work to protect the environment and human health. Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional Administrator presented the fifteen with EPA Environmental Quality Awards, at a ceremony held today in New York City that featured, as its keynote speaker, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, a noted environmental leader in Congress.

"The Environmental Quality Awards are EPA's way of taking its hat off to those who work the hardest to preserve and protect our environment and public health. As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Earth Day and look back on 30 years of environmental progress, These winners remind us that environmental protection is about more than laws, regulations and standards. Environmental protection is also about individual gumption and dedication," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "The unwavering commitment of these New Yorkers to making our world a better place should serve as an example to us all."

EPA Region 2 presents Environmental Quality Awards annually to individuals, nonprofit groups, educators, businesspeople, government officials and journalists from New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have made significant contributions to improving the quality of the environment in the Region. Winners are chosen by a panel of EPA employees who review nominations submitted from inside and outside the Agency.

The Winners of the 2000 Environmental Quality Award in New York State are:

INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN

Steve Rosenberg, Scenic Hudson, Inc.

Mr. Rosenberg is the Director of Scenic Hudson's Land Trust. He and his team have created 25 parks and preserves encompassing more than 15,000 acres, protecting vistas and creating family-friendly parks. His accomplishments have helped stem urban sprawl and its adverse effects on the environment.

Mike Richardson, Pfizer, Inc., New York, New York/ Puerto Rico

When he first began his career at Pfizer more than 25 years ago, Mr. Richardson started a corporate environmental practice group. He then organized a multi disciplinary environmental health and safety team and today serves as the Vice President of Environmental, Health and Safety. Mr. Richardson was instrumental in developing a corporate environmental health and safety policy for Pfizer. He is currently on the Board of Advisors of the World Environmental Center. He is founding member, current President and Chairman of the Caribbean Environment and Development Institute.

Aaron Mair, Albany, New York

Mr. Mair has been an activist in his community for more than 17 years and is responsible for the creation of the W. Haywood Burns Environmental Education Center and the Arbor Hill Environmental Justice Corporation, where he serves as President of the Board. Mr. Mair served on a sub-committee of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Environmental Justice Workgroup. He also works as a local Brownfields Technical Assistant in Albany. Mr. Mair has received countless commendations for his work in the area of minority rights and the environment.

Henry Stern, Commissioner, City of New York, Parks & Recreation

Commissioner Stern is being recognized for his lifetime dedication to the preservation of open green spaces in an urban environment. Henry has worked tirelessly to preserve, improve and expand park space in a landscape that at first appears to be made of only concrete and steel. Thanks in large part to Henry's efforts, New York City has more than 28,000 acres of magnificent and ecologically-diverse city parkland. One recent example that exemplifies Mr. Stern's commitment is a biodiversity project that is his brainchild called "Project X." Through the project, plant and animal species that no longer exist in the City are reintroduced. Among the species reintroduced to parkland so far are the screeching owl, luna moth, green frog and the Prickley Pear Catus. Through Project X, Commissioner Stern is breathing healthy biodiversity back into urban parkland.

FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL GOVERNMENT OR AGENCY

GLOW Regional Solid Waste Management Committee, Batavia, New York

In 1999, GLOW conducted its second farm pesticide collection program. By collecting pesticides that would have been thrown away and landfilled, they kept 24,610 pounds of potentially polluting materials from the waste stream. GLOW began its pesticide collection program, called the Farm Pesticide Amnesty Collection Project in 1995. All together, they have collected nearly 25 tons of pesticides. The group has also hosted numerous household hazardous waste days and collected thousands of pounds of household hazardous waste.

Materials for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Department of Sanitation, Board of Education

Material for the Arts (MFA) is a program of New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with Department of Sanitation and Board of Education. In operation since 1977, MFA was the first municipal reuse organization in the U.S. to support arts with material goods needed to run their day-to-day operations. MFA collects tax-deductible donations of reusable goods, such as computers, furniture, paper, fabric, paint, lighting equipment, copiers, pianos, wallpaper, and even props from major motion pictures, from businesses and individuals in the New York metropolitan area. These goods are then given to nonprofit art programs and public schools. More than 3,000 tons of goods have been donated to the program, which reduces solid waste by diverting materials from landfills while benefitting art programs throughout the metropolitan area.

James Ransom, Executive Director, Chief Oren Lyons and Henry Lickers, Co-Chairs, Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force, Rooseveltown, New York

As Executive Director and Co-Chairs of the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force (HETF), James Ransom, Oren Lyons and Henry Lickers use their education and experience to assist the Native people with their environmental challenges. HETF is composed of delegates chosen by each of the Haudenosaunee Nations who are committed to identifying environmental problems in their communities and working to find solutions to these problems. The HETF has the authority to act as a liaison between the Haudenosaunee Nations and external bodies. The HEFT wrote "The Haudenosaunee Environmental Restoration: An Indigenous Strategy for Human Sustainability," which contains strategies to address each of the environmental concerns of the Haudenosaunee Nations, and presented it to the United Nations at the Summit of Elders.

Dr. Ellen Braun-Howland, New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York

Dr. Ellen Braun-Howland is a cornerstone of the New York State's drinking water protection efforts. She manages the microbiological oversight of the state's drinking water supplies. Dr. Braun-Howland worked tirelessly to identify the culprit in the 1999 outbreak of waterborne disease at a fair in upstate New York. She analyzed hundreds of samples and found the cause -- E-coli. On a day-to-day basis, Ellen epitomizes the cooperation necessary to make a federal/state partnership work. She has repeatedly offered her expertise to EPA, including helping the Agency evaluate of drinking water at migrant farmworker camps in New Jersey.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

Farnsworth Middle School, Guilderland, New York

The students and faculty of Farnsworth Middle school have made an outstanding contribution to the environment using innovative and interdisciplinary education. The environment plays heavily into the school's seventh grade curriculum, with students planting trees, monitoring plant health and controlling the spread of invasive species. The students also lead tours of their summer-operated interpretive center in Pine Bush, located at the middle school.

The Frost Valley YMCA, Clarksville, New York

Frost Valley's YMCA has taught young people environmental stewardship for more than 30 years. Through its Frost Valley Environmental Education Program, the YMCA, a 6000-acre facility that includes campsites and education centers, serves a spectrum of communities ranging from rural Catskill schools to New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey schools. Frost Valley YMCA developed three environmental curriculums that are available through their website and is working to develop state-of-the-art streamside classroom that will link scientists and students through field research. They are also in the final stages of a research project that paired students with government and corporate professionals to assess the best reuse for 22 parcels of land made available through a federal buyout program. The YMCA is heavily involved in a host of other areas impacting the environment, including solid waste, water quality as effected by acid rain, and effects of air and water pollution on forests.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Anheuser Busch, Baldwinsville Brewery, New York

This Anheuser Busch brewery converts its brewery process wastewater into methane fuel through an innovative bioenergy recovery system. The methane is used to help fuel the brewery's boilers, providing 10% of the facilities fuel needs. The brewery also uses the solids from its wastewater to make a nutrient-rich compost that is used in landscaping and horticulture. The Baldwinsville brewery recycles and reuses 99.5% of its solid waste, has reduced hazardous waste generation by 91% since 1991 and is an active participant in community environmental programs.

NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION, ENVIRONMENTAL OR COMMUNITY GROUP

Skaneateles Lake Watershed Protection Program, Cornell Coopertaive Extension, Onondaga, New York

The Skaneateles Lake Watershed Protection Program is a multi-disciplinary education program targeting homeowners and farmers in the watershed. As a result of their efforts, farms have saved an average of more than $1,100 by adopting nutrient management techniques, erosion management practices have prevented the loss of 2,900 tons of soil into the watershed, more than 400 people have attended educational workshops and conducted site assessments on their property and more than half have taken corrective action to improve runoff and erosion control on their property.

Catskill Water Corporation, Margaretville, New York

The Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) administers water quality programs in New York City's West-of-Hudson Watershed, which provides about 90 percent of the City's drinking water. These programs benefit the more than nine million people, half the population of New York State, who drink water from the six large reservoirs located in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster Counties. CWC protects the environment, particularly water quality, while improving the quality of life for residents of the region. In the past year alone, CWC repaired 740 faulty septic systems that were leaking and could have seeped into the water, built 18 sand and salt storage buildings to prevent rain from washing the road maintenance materials into the water, reimbursed costs to municipalities and businesses of storm water control programs and awarded environmental education grants to 35 local schools and organizations.

Montefiore Medical Center's Lead Safe House, Bronx, New York

The Lead Safe House at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine at Montefiore Hospital has, since its inception in 1981, been an exemplary program in the fight against pediatric lead poisoning. Families dealing with lead hazards in their homes can seek temporary shelter at the Lead Safe Home while receiving expert health care. Experts at the Lead Safe Home provide medical care, nutritional counseling, educational and legal advocacy, social services, life skills training and local schooling. The program also educates adults about preventing lead poisoning so they can go back to their communities and help prevent the poisoning of other children in homes, schools and play areas.

PRESS/MEDIA

News Channel 5, WPTZ, KeyBank and the Lake Champlain Basin Program, Plattsburgh, New York and Burlington and Grand Isle, Vermont

In April 1999, News Channel 5, the local NBC affiliate for northern New York and Vermont formed a partnership, called Champlain 2000, with KeyBank and the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) to do a long series of stories on environmental issues surrounding Lake Champlain. The series covered urban and agricultural runoff, invasive nuisance species, and the historical and recreational features of Lake Champlain. WPTZ has devoted nearly half a million dollars in promotional air time to the series. Corporate sponsorship by KeyBank has enabled WPTZ to broadcast two half-hour specials about Lake Champlain and summarize previous segments through more than 400 vignettes (short 30-60 second pieces). Because the Lake Champlain Basin Program was a key player in developing a long-term management plan for the lake, along with New York, Vermont, and Quebec, LCBP has lent invaluable assistance to the effort, providing information and story ideas.