2014 US EPA Region 5 Presidential Environmental Youth Award Recipient
Julia Dixon, a participant in the 2012-13 CCL program received the US EPA Region 5 2014 Presidential Environmental Youth Award at a ceremony at the Lake ForestCountryDay School on June 3. She was also recognized at a ceremony at the White House on August 14. Julia created interactive trail guide codes for the newly restored nature preserve at Lake Forest Country Day School by using QR codes that can be accessed through a Smartphone. The goal was to educate and enhance students’ and visitors’ experience while walking through the new preserve. Julia designed signs that were inexpensive and easy to update. These signs provide comprehensive, engaging information on the ecology, restoration and wildlife associated with the site.
The Presidential Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people across the U.S. for protecting our nation’s air, water, land, and ecology. It is one of the most important ways EPA and the Administration demonstrate commitment to environmental stewardship efforts created and conducted by our nation’s young people.
One outstanding project from each region is selected for national recognition. Projects are developed by young individuals, school classes (K-12), summer camps, and youth organizations to promote environmental stewardship. Thousands of young people from all 50 states and the U.S. territories have submitted projects to EPA for consideration. Evaluation results consistently demonstrate that the experience is frequently a life-changing event for many of the young people and sponsors who attend. Please click the PEYA link above for information about this year’s recipients.
A rising junior at Deerfield Academy, Julia graduated from Lake Forest Country Day school in 2012 where she was the co-head of WOLVES, the environmental service club at the school. She credits this and her CCL experience with teaching her more about conservation. Her love of the environment began with family trips to the Adirondacks and Cape Cod with her family. She continues her environmental focus at Deerfield as an “e-proctor” for her dorm and is working with the Head of Environmental Sustainability to bring a shoe recycling program to campus. Julia also enjoys field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse and is an associate editor on the school newspaper. She was recently elected to sit on the school’s Academic Disciplinary Committee for the 2014-15 year.
2014 Susan Garrett Environmental Youth Award Recipient
For her CCL stewardship project, Jessica was interested in the water quality in her once rural but now rapidly growing suburban community of Gurnee. She made connections with and worked closely with local agencies, studying water levels, quality and sources of water pollution.
She began by educating students at a local grade school and developed a lesson plan focused on our watershed and the effects of pollution on it. She then created a display for her public library to be presented during Earth Day observances. Jessica’s lessons and displays did not focus on the negativity of pollution but incorporated a solution – to create rain gardens. She included information on these rain gardens, how to design them and the positive effects of having them for the watershed. Jessica also included age appropriate book list in her lessons and displays to further educate the students and their families about water issues.
Jessica then took her project to the advocacy level as she sought to inform the local village government of the negative implications of using phosphorus-based fertilizers in the community. Jessica invited the mayor and other local officials to join her in a canoe exploration of the area to see first hand the damage the fertilizers were doing to the DesPlainesRiver. She then presented her well-researched findings to the Gurnee Village Board and recommended a ban on the use of phosphorus based fertilizers. Her hard work was rewarded when, on June 4, 2012, the Village Board of Gurnee, IL passed the ordinance. Please see the article in her local paper about the work that she did for this: Through her work and interest, Jessica has already had a tremendously positive impact on her community and she was recognized for this with the Garrett Award from Lake County Cares.
Devyn Morris and Alexander Porcayo
Participants in Cornell University’s Lab of Orthinology Workshop
Devyn and Alex, both rising seniors at Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, received full scholarships to a four day workshop on conservation and ornithology at Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology in April. Devyn and Alex were chosen for the selective program from over 200 applicants nationwide. They were accompanied by their science teacher Molly McConnell and learned about conservation issues and birds during their stay at Cornell.