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River Stewards at the Matagorda Bay Natural Science Center Receive Gulf Guardian Award

Release Date: 06/09/2011
Contact Information: Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or www.epa.gov/gmpo

(STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – June 9, 2011) – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the River Stewards at the Lower Colorado River Authority, Matagorda Bay Natural Science Center of Matagorda, Texas will receive a Gulf Guardian Award for 2011 in the Youth Education Category. The Awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Meeting on August 3, 2011, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Ballroom at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place in New Orleans.

The Lower Colorado River Authority, Matagorda Bay Natural Science Center opened in 2006 with Tier I of the River Stewards Project. This Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills aligned project worked with over 300 middle school students from the Bay City Texas area, as they progressed from the 6th to the 8th grade (2006-2009). River Stewards enhanced the students’ knowledge of science, increased coastal awareness, enriched classroom learning and promoted stewardship of all natural resources. These students investigated water quality, marine and freshwater ecosystems, and learned firsthand the importance of conserving and protecting the Gulf’s natural resources. The 6th grade curriculum delved into activities that demonstrated that science was a way of learning about the natural world. The 7th grade curriculum had students in the water, experiencing kinetic and potential energy and the relationship between force and motion. They analyzed, compared and contrasted photosynthesis for aquatic and land plants and investigated salt marsh communities. The 8th grade curriculum identified the roles of both human and natural events in altering earth systems related to topics such as climate change, beach processes, and water quality. River Stewards built student connections with the coastal environment and illuminated and enriched science concepts taught in the classroom through hands-on learning opportunities out in the field. River Stewards is ongoing with their Tier II that began in 2010 and will follow students through until 2013!

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. A first, second, and third place awards are given in seven categories: individual, business, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts.

"The Gulf Guardian Award winners demonstrate great examples of collaborative efforts leading to solutions that address the Gulf of Mexico environment," said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. "Their accomplishments are making a positive difference in protecting and restoring the Gulf, and EPA is pleased to recognize their environmental stewardship."

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

Gloria Car, Acting Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said, “This is the 11th year of the Gulf Guardian Awards Program, and I am proud to say that each year the winners in all categories have represented the very best of environmental accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico. The partnership of the Gulf of Mexico Program works to improve the environmental health of the Gulf, and the Gulf Guardian Awards is an important way for us to recognize these valuable efforts. The 2011 award winners truly exemplify the enthusiastic and committed citizens, communities, governments, and businesses who address complex problems to improve, protect, and sustain our regional and national treasure, the Gulf of Mexico.

For more information regarding River Stewards, please contacts: Betsy Terrel and Carolyn Nelson (979) 863-2603 Ext. 4779 betsy.terrel@lcra.org Carolyn.nelson@lcra.org


Editor’s Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call the Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or visit our web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo.

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