EPA Region 3
Topic: 2010 Environmental Achievement Awards
Date: April 29, 2011
Renee Chenault Fattah: I am so honored and so excited to be here to help the EPA today in celebrating the Environmental Achievement Award winners, to recognize the corporations and the individuals--some very young--who are doing so much to protect and to safeguard our environment. Well, it's terrific.
Bonnie Smith: That is Renee Chenault Fattah, award-winning news anchor at Philadelphia's NBC 10 and the guest speaker at EPA's Mid-Atlantic Environmental Achievement Awards ceremony at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall. We learned from Renee's that her lifelong enthusiasm for the environment came at as a child. Her father was a career regulatory enforcer at EPA's Rocky Mountain office in Denver.
Bonnie Smith: Hi. I'm Bonnie Smith, and welcome to Environment Matters, our series of podcasts.
Presiding at this year's ceremony was Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin He commented on the connection between the winners' accomplishments and EPA's national priorities.
Shawn Garvin: Although the projects undertaken by them differ in a number of ways, the results of their efforts are helping to address some of EPA‘s top priorities, including: protecting America's waters, taking action on climate change, improving air quality, cleaning up and sustaining healthy communities, expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice, and building strong partnerships with the states.
Bonnie Smith: Immediately following the ceremony, we were able to spend a few minutes with several honored guests. We asked them to say a few words about their work. Greg Adolfson is Sustainability Officer of the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection:
Greg Adolfson: The goal is to change the attitude, the behavior and the culture of several institutions, from colleges, and universities to our manufacturing entities, as well as our communities. The goal is to help them reduce their energy and water consumption and maybe even minimize or eliminate their waste, ultimately to reduce their greenhouse gas pollution.
Bonnie Smith: Sarah Robb Grieco is executive director of the Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership in Philadelphia.
Sarah Robb Grieco: We're dedicated to restoring and protecting the Tookany/Tacony Frankford watershed, which is a very badly urbanized creek and the land that drains to it that runs to Philadelphia. We work with communities throughout the watershed to try to reduce stormwater runoff and to try to improve the communities there in whatever way we can, cleaning and greening practices.
Bonnie Smith: Veronica Kasi is a sustainability expert with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection.
Veronica Kasi: What we have been able to do with a group effort with my team is look at the long term sustainability for water and wastewater systems. It's been a very exciting time for us. We're starting some new areas and some new territory where we're really starting to get a real good look at what it really takes, and what the importance is of operating a water or wastewater system.
Bonnie Smith: Frank Hamons, Jr. is director of harbor development at the Maryland Port Administration.
Frank Hamons: What we've done is found ways to marry the interests to provide for the environment of the harbor, clean up the Brownfields, provide recreation in an urban wilderness for the local communities, while we're dredging the channels and keeping the ships going.
Bonnie Smith: Brad Pealer and Deana Weaver are co-founders of the Carroll Citizens for Sensible Growth, a true grass roots group that organizes trash cleanups in northern York County (Pa.). Brad Pealer.
Brad Pealer: We think that with the EPA and the drilling and coal burning and the nuclear problems and the sewage problems and everything, that we need somebody like the EPA to monitor these things. Because we understand today that all the stuff we give and all the stuff we do with the coal burning and drilling and everything, it all ends up in one spot, the Chesapeake Bay.
Bonnie Smith: Deana Weaver spoke movingly of the social aspect of their volunteer work.
Deana Weaver: As we've met people, we've just bonded with everyone and have created an extended family with all of the people that we've worked with.
Bonnie Smith: Frederick Remelius is with the Upper Merion Area School District in southeast Pennsylvania.
Frederick Remelius: District wide, we reduced our energy consumption more than 30%, and at a couple of our schools we reduced our electricity consumption about 50%. And then after we started that we got into the recycling and we're taking away about 50% of our trash as recyclables now. That's coming along real well. We're following the examples of some of the students. They started it, then as administrators we figure we had to catch up to them (laughing) and get on the bandwagon.
Bonnie Smith: Also honored at this year's ceremony was Joy Best, this year's Mid-Atlantic winner of the President's Environmental Youth Award. Joy is a Philadelphia high school junior who organized a group of energetic girls and boys to promote environmental stewardship and family involvement in their Feltonville neighborhood. We'll chat with her in our next Environment Matters podcast.
Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin concluded his remarks with hearty praise for all of this year's award winners.
Shawn Garvin: Through their earnest hard work, commitment to environmental improvement and a strong desire to better their communities, they have achieved success worth noting and celebrating. Today's winners have made their mark in ways that will benefit public health and environment for years to come.
Bonnie Smith: I can't overstate how gratifying it is to meet the winners at the National Constitution Center. And thanks for joining us on Environment Matters, our series of podcasts.