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EPA Administrator Whitman Honors Environmental Achievements in New York; Radio Broadcaster, 5th Graders and International Recording Artist Among Those from New York State Recognized for Environmental Accomplishments

Release Date: 04/16/2001
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(#01037) New York, New York – As part of the celebration of Earth Day, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Governor Christie Whitman presented 12 awards today to New Yorkers for their contributions to a better environment and the protection of human health. Administrator Whitman presented EPA’s Environmental Quality Awards and the President’s Environmental Youth Awards, and was the keynote speaker, at a ceremony held today at EPA Region 2 offices in Manhattan, where Joe Witte, award recipient and popular meteorologist for a national television cable network, also spoke.

The EQAs are EPA’s way of taking its hat off to those who work the hardest to preserve and protect our environment and public health. The PEYAs recognize the outstanding environmental achievements of young people.

EPA Region 2 presents Environmental Quality Awards annually to individuals, nonprofit groups, educators, businesspeople, government officials and media representatives 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

Irene Klementowicz
Brooklyn, New York

In her role as President of the Concerned Citizens of Greenpoint, Irene Klementowicz has worked tirelessly to improve the environment of her Greenpoint community. Among the projects to which she has dedicated herself and her organization are shutting down the Greenpoint incinerator, advocating the upgrade to secondary treatment of the Newtown Water Pollution Control Plant, monitoring the consent order requiring Mobil Oil Company to pump out millions of gallons of petroleum contaminating the aquifer under Newtown Creek, increasing local access to the community’s waterfront and the pursuit of environmental justice for residents in the Greenpoint neighborhood. Her life personifies the commitment of dedicated environmentalists to "Think globally, act locally."

Joan Stoliar (posthumously)
New York, New York

Joan Stoliar was a free lance book designer by profession and a passionate flyfisher by choice. A board member of the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Inc., she was instrumental in having the organization create Project Access, a successful effort to make prime trout streams in the Catskill Mountains accessible to all anglers, particularly the elderly and disabled. She also was responsible for bringing the "Trout in the Classroom" program to New York City and Catskill watershed schoolchildren. The program built an awareness of the importance of water quality and the widespread cooperation necessary to protect this valuable resource.

FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL GOVERNMENT OR AGENCY

The Albany County Airport Authority
Albany, New York

The Albany International Airport is situated on a tributary to a drinking water supply for the town of Colonie, New York. Since 1989, far earlier than most airports, Albany International has taken a series of measures to contain, collect and treat on-site deicing fluid and stormwater. Among them is an innovative anaerobic/aerobic treatment process designed by EFX Systems Inc., a subsidiary of Ecolotrol of Westbury, New York and installed by CHA Technical Services of Albany. Its innovation and leadership on this issue have lead to inquiries about the system and its environmental benefits from airports throughout the world.

Dr. Margaret Lee and Ron Moss
Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)
New York, New York

HRSA is a key partner with EPA in efforts to address children’s health issues. Through the leadership of Dr. Lee, with the support of Ron Moss, the first Region 2 Asthma Summit was held last spring. Jointly, HRSA and EPA are also conducting clinical interventions with low-income clients at clinics in the region to determine which environmental controls are most effective at the clinical level. The partnership between HRSA and EPA has brought together two key pieces of the children’s health puzzle to benefit the children in Region 2.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses
Audubon International
Selkirk, New York

The approximately 16,000 golf courses in the United States use a great deal of open space which could provide environmental benefits. Unfortunately, traditional operation and maintenance practices more frequently cause harm through wasteful water use, the introduction of exotic plant species and the abundant use of pesticides and fertilizers. The Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses works with golf course superintendents to promote environmental stewardship and best management practices. The effort represents the first and foremost program in the country to address the environmental issues and opportunities specific to golf courses.

Niagara County Soil and Water Conservation District
Lockport, New York

Each June, for nearly twenty years, sixth grade students from throughout Niagara County have participated in Environmental Education Field Days sponsored by the Niagara County Soil and Water Conservation District. Under the recent leadership of Darcy Rae Tone, Education Program Administrator, students are brought to the district’s Conservation Education Park in Gainsport, New York to learn first hand about local natural resources, as well as timely environmental subjects. Field instructors are recruited from throughout Western New York to make presentations to over one thousand students on subjects ranging from archeology, recycling, composting, water quality, wetland conservation, pollution prevention, hazardous waste and local flora and fauna. Regardless of whether they attend public, private or parochial schools or are schooled at-home, all of the county’s sixth graders have access to and have benefitted from this program.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Janet Brown, Waste Manager
Beth Israel Medical Center
New York, New York

Janet Brown is a recognized leader in the field of medical waste management. She began her career helping to develop New York City’s medical waste plan. Her work at Beth Israel saved the hospital over $600,000 in waste disposal costs during her first year as the hospital’s waste manager. She has been an invaluable advisor and educator both to EPA Region 2 and the national medical community, promoting environmentally-sound purchasing practices and pollution prevention strategies among health care providers.

NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION, ENVIRONMENTAL OR COMMUNITY GROUP

Jes Good Rewards, Inc. Children’s Learning Center and Wildlife Habitat Garden
Brooklyn, New York

Jes Good Rewards began as a "Toys-for-Tots" program and under the leadership of Jestine Roper, expanded to create the Children’s Learning Center and Wildlife Habitat Garden in the Brownsville community of Brooklyn. This neighborhood oasis, staffed by volunteers, has become a learning environment for area schools and serves local children through summer programs and Saturday programs during the school year. These programs teach gardening and composting skills and lessons about the local wildlife. In 1998, the National Wildlife Federation recognized the garden as an official wildlife habitat.

PRESS/MEDIA

Willie Colón Spanish Broadcasting System
New Rochelle, New York New York, New York

The Spanish Broadcasting System, owner and operator of two radio stations in New York City, reached out to the EPA after reading newspaper reports about the widespread use of illegal pesticides in the city. Concerned that its listening audience might be putting its health at risk, the company offered to work with EPA to raise public awareness of the problem. The station opened their recording studios and secured the voluntary cooperation of Latin recording star Willie Colón to create Spanish and English language public service announcements, which it then aired for three months. The Spanish Broadcasting System and Willie Colón showed a generous concern for people using these illegal pesticides and have surely prevented many health problems among New Yorkers that can result from their use.

PRESIDENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL YOUTH AWARDS

Region 2 Honorable Mention
Cara S. Liander
Staten Island, New York

Cara is being recognized for her participation in the New York/New Jersey Harbor Estuary Oyster Study. The study, sponsored by the Baykeeper of New York Harbor, was conducted to determine whether oysters, once abundant in the harbor, could survive in present conditions. Cara adopted Station 14 in Kill Van Kull for the study and, over a two year period, monitored oyster growth. The three-phase study has since shown that oyster growth is possible in harbor waters, contributing important information to the attempt to revive the health of harbor waters.

Region 2 Honorable Mention
Farming the Sea: A Mariculture Project
Smithtown, New York

This mariculture project was an after-school education program sponsored by the Western Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services for students at Bayport-Blue Point, Hauppauge and Kings Park High Schools. Combining lectures and hands-on experience, the participating students first learned about shellfish biology, the history of shellfishing and the problems affecting shellfish harvesters in New York’s marine waters. Students then built culture rafts for six millimeter seed clams, which they monitored until they averaged over twenty-five millimeters in length. On their final day of the project, the students removed the clams from the raft and seeded them in public waters off Smithtown and Brookhaven.

Region 2 Honorable Mention
Environmental Club
Dr. Charles R. Drew Science Magnet School
Buffalo, New York

The 5
th graders of the environmental club, in partnership with faculty and the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, adopted two urban habitat restoration parks along the Buffalo River in South Buffalo as an after-school project. After studying the native and nonnative bird species found in Western New York, the students joined with the school’s eighth graders to design and build nesting boxes for five native bird species and installed them in locations appropriate for each of the individual species. A total of 25 nesting boxes were placed in the two parks along with dozens of trees and fruit bearing shrubs. As of last June, eight pairs of nesting birds were seen in the students boxes, and most of the remaining boxes showed evidence of nest building activity.