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Kicking Off Earth Week, EPA Honors New York Environmental Leaders

Release Date: 04/19/2013
Contact Information: Jennifer May, (212) 637-3658, 646-369-0039 may.jennifer@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has honored seventeen individuals and organizations from across New York with Environmental Quality Awards for their achievements in protecting public health and the environment. In addition, the President’s Environmental Youth Award, given each year to 10 students from across the country, was awarded to Christopher Johnston, a high school student from Manhasset, New York. EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck was joined by Linda Cox, Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance to present the awards to this year’s recipients at a ceremony at EPA’s offices in Manhattan.

      “EPA is thrilled to honor the work of these environmental trailblazers,” said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “These New Yorkers have had a major impact on protecting the environment in their communities and inspire us all to work for a cleaner, healthier environment.”

      EPA presents Environmental Quality Awards annually during Earth Week to individuals, businesses, government agencies, environmental and community-based organizations and members of the media in EPA Region 2, which covers New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight federally-recognized Indian Nations. The awards recognize significant contributions to improving the environment and public health in the previous calendar year. For information about the Environmental Quality Awards in EPA Region 2, visit
      http://www.epa.gov/region02/eqa/.

      Attached is a list of the award winners.

      2013 ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AWARD WINNERS
      PRESIDENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL YOUTH AWARD

      Christopher Johnston
      Christopher Johnston is a high school student from Manhasset, New York and the filmmaker behind Take The Challenge!, a documentary that encourages people to take action to protect the environment. Take the Challenge! raises awareness of topics including ocean acidification and the effects of carbon dioxide, and includes participation from Philippe Cousteau of Earth Echo International and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The documentary aired on public television in New York City and on public television and Cablevision on Long Island.

      BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

      Lumi-Solair LLC
      Lumi-Solair makes environmentally friendly lighting products that are not connected to the electrical grid, including street lights. Their lights are powered by a combination of wind and solar energy and can work even in the worst weather conditions. During hurricane Sandy, Lumi-Solair lights in Atlantic City and Brooklyn continued working in spite of flooding and hurricane-force winds.

      Sunnking Electronics Recycling
      For the last 10 years, Sunnking Electronics Recycling has provided e-waste recycling services to residents and businesses in New York State. They are the first R2 Certified Electronics Recycler in New York State and have increased recycling volumes to over 10 million pounds annually.

      ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

      Brenda Young
      Brenda Young is the driving force behind Enviro-News, an electronic newsletter that serves as the focal point for environmental activities in the Amherst, New York area. The newsletter provides updates about events, courses, local news, grants, and training opportunities of interest to the environmental community in eight counties in Western New York. The newsletter has evolved to include local blogs and links websites that help environmental groups share information and strengthen ties.

      Cafeteria Culture
      Cafeteria Culture is true to its name: it changed the culture in public school cafeterias across New York City. Thanks to its work, all 1,700 New York City public schools now observe “Trayless Tuesdays,” which have reduced tray use in schools since 2010 by an amazing 40 million polystyrene trays. This remarkable change has been made at no cost to the city.

      FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL, OR TRIBAL GOVERNMENT OR AGENCY

      City of Binghamton, New York
      In 2011, the city of Binghamton created a draft Energy and Climate Action Plan with the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025. This plan is part of Binghamton’s environmental strategy, which includes educating residents about green best practices and participating in the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

      Council Member James F. Gennaro
      As Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, Council Member James F. Gennaro has been championing and passing legislation protecting the environment since 2003. His accomplishments include overseeing the passage of 30 laws protecting clean land, air and water. He has been especially active protecting the Catskill/Delaware Watershed, which has staved off the need to build a multi-billion dollar water filtration plant for New York City.

      St. Regis Mohawk Tribe
      In the past year, drinking water quality in the Akwesasne Communities in the Mohawk Nation has improved thanks to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. The Tribe’s Planning and Infrastructure Department made capital improvements to water system infrastructure, especially extending a water intake pipe into a part of the St. Lawrence River where water quality is higher. By drawing from cleaner water, water quality has improved while the need for water treatment chemicals has been reduced.

      Kizzy Charles-Guzman
      As Director of the Climate Change and Public Health Program at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Kizzy Charles-Guzman helps develop solutions to climate change. Prior to that role, Kizzy worked in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability where she implemented air quality initiatives and coordinated environmental planning efforts. Kizzy was named one of “70 Eco Heroes in the US” by Glamour Magazine.

      INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN

      Jennifer Wilson-Pines
      Jennifer Wilson-Pines is one of the most prolific environmentalists in Long Island. She is the Executive Director of the Manhasset Bay Protection Committee, served four terms as a Trustee and Deputy Mayor of the Village of Manorhaven, and has been active with the North Shore Audubon Society since 1996. Her tireless efforts have dramatically improved the environment in and around the Manhasset Bay. Ms. Wilson-Pines recent projects include boater pollution education, helping to develop a green infrastructure conference on Long Island, and work focused on education about septic systems.


      Stuart Findlay
      Stuart Findlay has been contributing to our understanding of the shallow water habitats of the Hudson River for the past 25 years. His work has examined the ecological functions of submerged aquatic vegetation, intertidal wetlands, and the shoreline zone of the river. His research has been an important part of developing science-based targets for restoration and for making permitting decisions. He has greatly improved our understanding of the Hudson River and its implications for large rivers worldwide.


      NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION, ENVIRONMENTAL, OR COMMUNITY GROUP

      Community Environmental Center
      The Community Environmental Center in Queens, New York has been putting green building and living techniques into practice. It is a major provider of construction and technical services for green buildings, especially for underserved populations. Between 1994 and 2011, CEC retrofitted more than 17 thousand housing units through New York State’s Weatherization Assistance Program. CEC also weatherized an additional nine thousand homes for low-income families using funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

      Empowered Queens United in Action and Leadership (EQUAL)
      EQUAL is a grassroots organization comprised of faith-based congregations in Queens, New York. In order to help mitigate the problem of street flooding and basement backups – a significant problem in Queens – EQUAL conducted surveys of catch basins throughout Queens that receive stormwater runoff. This information helped identify the scope of the problem and influenced New York City Department of Environmental Protection projects to provide more storm sewer capacity and study the operation of ground water pumping wells in Queens.

      Jeffrey Anzevino and Dr. Sacha Spector
      Dr. Sacha Spector and Jeffrey Anzevino of Scenic Hudson led efforts to educate local officials, planners, developers, community activists and the public on how to revitalize Hudson riverfronts while planning for effects associated with climate change and sea level rise. They established forums that led to the region’s first “sea level rise task force.” The task force is staffed by members of the local community and officials who are working to develop plans to mitigate the effects of climate change.

      Newtown Creek Alliance
      The Newtown Creek Alliance represents the interests of the community around Newtown Creek, on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, New York, which includes a Superfund site in one of the most densely-populated areas of the country. The Newtown Creek Alliance is a catalyst for community action and works to promote environmental, economic and human health. The Alliance also conducts foot, bike, bus and boat tours to get the community further engaged with the creek.

      Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association
      Seneca Lake is one of New York State’s most popular tourist destinations and the center of New York’s wine industry. The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association promotes the environmental health of the Seneca Lake Watershed through an educational campaign that includes newsletters, press releases and public meetings. It funds lake monitoring and studies by the Finger Lakes Institute and watershed-related educational outreach materials for local schools.

      Sure We Can
      Homelessness is a major problem in New York City and one of the ways some homeless people make money is by collecting and redeeming discarded cans and bottles. Sure We Can is New York City’s only licensed, homeless-friendly redemption center. This facility helps the homeless and promotes recycling of aluminum, glass and plastic.

      American Littoral Society
      The American Littoral Society promotes the study and conservation of marine life and habitat. Following Hurricane Sandy, the American Littoral Society coordinated a regional assessment to evaluate the effects of the storm. The resulting study identified regional impacts and changes to specific habitats and provided valuable information to federal, state and local governments.
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