EPA Honors New York State Environmental Leaders
Release Date: 04/27/2012
Contact Information: Contact: Elizabeth Myer, (212) 637-3860, firstname.lastname@example.org
(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has honored 26 individuals, organizations and businesses from across New York State with Environmental Quality Awards for their achievements in protecting public health and the environment. EPA also recognized a student from Jericho, N.Y. who is one of ten students selected from across the country to receive the President’s Environmental Youth Award. EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck was joined by Mayor Dana Redd of Camden, New Jersey to present the awards to this year’s recipients at a ceremony at EPA’s offices in Manhattan.
“Change that will create a healthier and more sustainable future begins with people like those the EPA is honoring today,” said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “They give of themselves and set a high bar in their actions to protect public health and the 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.
2012 ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AWARD WINNERS
Anahita Williamson is the Director of the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute, a statewide research and technology transfer center that helps businesses across the state successfully reduce their carbon footprints. Together with the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute, Anahita has helped to ensure the transformation and development of sustainable businesses and organizations in New York. Anahita also has extensive experience in the field of environmental engineering and in performing life-cycle assessments that evaluate the complete environmental performance of a product or system.
Daniel Lefkowitz has successfully raised public awareness about the presence of polychlorinated biphenyl compounds (PCBs) in building caulk that was applied to public buildings, most notably schools. Dr. Lefkowitz is the parent of a child that attended the French Hill Elementary School where he discovered, through testing, PCBs in the window caulking of his son’s school in 2004. As a result, Dr. Lefkowitz created a website that contains studies on PCBs in caulking, contact information for PCB blood analyses, various PCB sampling reports (for caulk and soil), links to EPA resources and other useful links to raise awareness about the issue.
Edward Michalenko serves as President of the Onondaga Environmental Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to public education, scientific research, planning and restoration of the environment. As Town Supervisor of Dewitt NY, Dr. Michalenko designed the town’s tiered Solid Waste Removal System, which promotes recycling and waste reduction. He is actively pursuing alternate energy technologies for town facilities and is working to acquire parklands and green space, among a range of other impressive sustainable initiatives.
James Cataldi left his job as a Wall Street computer programmer to realize a more meaningful calling: the cleanup and restoration of the North Cove of the Harlem River. Instead of waiting for the city and other organizations to do it, he began his own cleanup and restoration effort. After approximately three years of work, the North Cove is returning to its natural state. Mr. Cataldi conducted 99% of this cleanup on his own without any funding and few resources. He continues to reach out to the local community to educate people about the importance of environmental stewardship of the North Cove.
Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman has spearheaded a number of public health education and research actions that have improved both the Northern Manhattan community’s knowledge of hazardous exposures and its ability to eliminate them. In promoting health education, she has organized community education events, public health education outreach campaigns and community research conferences. Ogonnaya was also the driving force and primary author of the pioneering Northern Manhattan Environmental Health Report Card. She has partnered with various academic researchers from prestigious institutions to conduct studies that address pressing public health problems facing minority and low-income communities.
Ron Urban has made significant and long-lasting contributions to New York State’s fish and their habitat through his exemplary service, leadership and dedication. His leadership in addressing the flooding disasters that have visited the Catskill Region is especially noteworthy. He has also undertaken significant measures to help preserve the official state fish, the brook trout. Under his direction, volunteers across the state have waded into streams to find “brookies,” detail the conditions of their existence and report and record those finding in the official record.
Business and Industry
Cayuga Compost is a local company that provides collection, processing and marketing services for source-separated organic materials including food scraps and associated compostable-disposable products and yard waste. Under the leadership of Mary and Jim Proctor and in partnership with Tomkins County Solid Waste Management, Cayuga Compost helped achieve a 59% waste diversion rate in 2010. Cayuga Compost has experienced a great deal of success in diverting food waste from landfills in local school districts. Students in the 24 participating schools are taught the importance of recycling nutrient-rich materials in an off-site commercial compost setting, saving the schools thousands of dollars in waste disposal costs.
EcoLogic Solutions Inc.
Anselm Doering founded EcoLogic Solutions in 2001 after seeing a poster in a New York Thruway rest stop bathroom that bragged about being cleaned with toxic chemicals. Since that day, EcoLogic Solutions’ entire product line, sales and business practices have all been 100-percent focused on sustainability. Most recently, Doering pioneered game-changing Electro-Chemical Activation technology that allows users to make their own all-natural cleaners and disinfectants using only tap water, salt and electricity. EcoLogic Solutions continues to lead the way in all-natural, plant-based cleaning chemicals and technologies for offices, schools, hotels, hospitals and more.
Ecovative Design co-founders Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre created a completely compostable polystyrene substitute using a technology that they developed during their senior year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The packaging alternative, called EcoCradle, is made from mushroom “roots”, called mycÚlium. By pioneering the use of this innovative polystyrene packaging alternative, Ecovative Design prevents marine debris, reduces waste in landfills and decreases emissions associated with packaging production. Ecovative Design successfully challenges the paradigm on how materials are manufactured and used.
Monroe Litho is an environmentally sustainable commercial printing partnership. In addition to being 100% wind powered, Monroe uses paper that is 10% post consumer waste made with 100% green e-certified renewable energy. In 2011 alone, the company saw a carbon footprint reduction of 9.5% from the previous year while annual VOC chemical emissions were reduced by 35%. Additionally, the company recycled thousands of pounds of consumer batteries, IT equipment, florescent bulbs, cardboard and other items.
Consortium for Worker Education
The Consortium for Worker Education is a private, non-profit agency that provides a wide array of employment, training and education services to over 75,000 of New York City workers annually. The organization is implementing a $4 million green jobs “Pathways Out of Poverty” grant that will help local green businesses flourish by providing support and development services for businesses involved in clean energy provision, energy saving retrofitting, pro-environmental manufacturing, materials recycling and reuse and deconstruction.
Robert Hayes is an environmental educator whose curriculum synthesizes an increasingly rare naturalist education that has a focus on place-based scientific observation of wildlife and landscape ecology with real-world, hands-on occupation skills. Mr. Hayes develops programs that are carefully matched to a range of student ages and aptitudes, while meeting key state educational standards.
Federal, State, Local and Tribal Government or Agency
Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee
Comprised of nine municipal members, the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee was able to improve water quality in Hempstead Harbor to the extent that, on June 1, 2011, New York State re-opened approximately 2,500 acres to shell fishing for the first time in over 40 years. This great feat, which met the highest standard for water bodies, has also provided employment opportunities, with as many as 80 boats observed in the harbor on opening day alone. It has reassured the public that their efforts have and will continue to provide environmental benefits.
Hudson River Estuary Program
Under the guidance of its coordinator, Fran Dunwell, the Hudson River Estuary Program is a model of how government can work cooperatively with diverse partners to achieve robust environmental and economic growth and health in communities along the entire river corridor. The Hudson River Estuary Program brings private and public sector partners together to coordinate projects that help protect the natural beauty, safety and ecological balance of the river’s estuarine system while improving water quality and fostering smart growth in both rural and heavily urbanized waterfronts.
As a professional engineer with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in Buffalo, NY, Martin Doster was a major contributor to the “Brownfields to Greenfields” manual. Mr. Doster oversees brownfields redevelopment by bringing together community organizations, business representatives and preservationists in Western New York. Through his efforts, numerous neighborhoods in and around the city of Buffalo have become models of successful community partnerships. Martin Doster is also overseeing a large portion of the remedial work that is slated to remove tons of contaminated sediment from the Buffalo River.
NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation
Suzanna Randall, Infrastructure Coordinator at the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, and its Green Infrastructure Team have developed and are implementing the state’s Green Innovation Grant Program, which uses clean water state revolving funding to provide grants for green infrastructure projects. Their efforts have spurred New York's municipal, engineering and design communities to reconsider how they manage stormwater. Most recently, they integrated the program into Governor Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Initiative, leveraging the resources of this massive statewide effort to further spread the word about green infrastructure techniques to the wider business community.
Rye Sustainability Committee
On December 7, 2011, The City Council of Rye, NY voted unanimously for a retail shopping bag ordinance, banning the use of plastic shopping bags. The new law is the first of its kind in Westchester County, NY and was part of a broader campaign by five members of the Rye Sustainability Committee to educate the public about unnecessary single use disposables, encourage the Rye community to use reusable bags and inspire other communities to follow suit. Gretchen Kaye Crowley, Brigit Townley, Annalise Stack and Melissa Brown-Greico volunteered their time over the past year to educate merchants and advocate for the law.
Town of Hempstead
The town of Hempstead has taken several measures to reduce its energy use while saving its residents money in the process. Town Supervisor Kate Murray spearheaded the town’s Clean Energy Project, which focuses on energy savings and cost reducing projects including a solar panel field, a hydrogen fuel station, a solar house and a solar and wind-powered shellfish nursery. Supervisor Murray has elevated the town of Hempstead to a higher environmental standard, promoting sustainability throughout the community and, ultimately, setting an example for others.
Non-Profit Organization, Environmental or Community Group
Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions
Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions is a coalition of 14 civic associations from Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Glendale, Elmhurst, Woodside, Forest Hills, and Woodhaven in Queens, NY. Since forming in 2009, the coalition has made vast strides in environmental improvements including reducing emissions from diesel powered locomotives, making certain that rail yards are free of hazards and threats to neighborhood health and safety, and ensuring that plans to increase the number of freight portals into and out of the city are implemented by sustainable means.
"Clean + Go Green," Columbia University, Facilities Operations
Columbia University has made great strides in promoting recycling and reducing waste through its annual “Clean + Go Green” event. Sponsored by the facilities operations of the Columbia University Morningside campus, Clean + Go Green is an event that enables and promotes community members to donate or dispose of their unwanted items in an environmentally responsible manner. In the six years since the first Clean + Go Green event, over 83 tons of items such as electronics, clothing, books and furniture have been diverted from landfills and donated to charity.
Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
In recent years, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has been a champion for environmental initiatives throughout Western New York, coordinating with over 150 environmental organizations to implement a regional agenda for the environment. Through their collaborations they eliminated lead poisoning risks for hundreds of children through the green and healthy homes initiative. The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo also launched GrowWNY.org, a website that is designed to connect regional environmental experts and organizations to the general public.
Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers
The mission of Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers is to protect and restore Jamaica Bay, a salt marsh that covers 25,000 acres. Since its inception, Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers has spearheaded a variety of efforts from documenting nitrogen loading, algae blooms and marshland in Jamaica Bay, to preventing city-owned wetlands from being auctioned off for development, to engaging the NYC Department of Environmental Protection in monitoring and testing sites identified as poor water quality areas.
Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington
Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the environment of Port Washington, NY and its surrounding areas on Long Island. Together the members work to improve their community by implementing programs in four main areas: environmental education, policy and planning, environmental health and quality of life. In 2011, the group launched a number of initiatives including hands-on environmental education activities for elementary school students and volunteer community cleanups and beautification days.
Rocky Point Marsh Makers
For over a year, Shervin Hess, along with other volunteers known as the Rocky Point Marsh Makers, removed tons of lumber and debris from the Rocky Point Marsh in Queens, NY, completely by hand. He recruited hundreds of volunteers and, at times, worked alone or in small groups. Together with the Rocky Point Marsh Makers, Shervin Hess has demonstrated how inspiration, dedication and hard work can result in real environmental improvements.
Last June, Sustainable CUNY of the City University of New York launched the NYC Solar Map, an online interactive tool that estimates the solar power potential of the one million rooftops in the five boroughs of New York City. The 15 billion points of data that back up the map prove that enough solar power can be generated on the city's rooftops to offset costly upgrades to the grid, or the use of dirty generators during the city's peak usage periods. As a result of the tens of thousands of hits the map has received, the New York City Department of Buildings has received an influx of applications to install this clean, renewable power.
THE POINT Community Development Corporation
THE POINT Community Development Corporation is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing youth programming focused on cultural and economic awareness in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. THE POINT has been instrumental in bringing environmental justice to this historically disenfranchised neighborhood. From developing open green space to creating meaningful platforms for community engagement, THE POINT has shaped the policies that impact the neighborhood daily and in the process, has created a long-term strategy for environmental sustainability.
2011 PRESIDENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL YOUTH AWARD WINNER
Christopher J. Yao
High school Sophomore Christopher J. Yao is confident that young people have the power to change the world and he believes in harnessing that power to combat environmental problems that exist today. Christopher started Kids Change the World (www.planetgreen.kidschangeamerica.org) as a means to empower young people with start-up grants, websites and other grassroots services and resources to start charitable/nonprofit programs to benefit the environment. Since its inception, Kids Change the World has dedicated its efforts to creating generations of young “doers” to change the world for future generations.
For more details, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/eqa