Topic: President's Environmental Youth Awards
Date: July 10, 2009
Ruth McCully: Since 1971 the President of the United States has joined with EPA to really recognize those young people across the United States who really take on the issue of environmental stewardship. These are the leaders of tomorrow. Ryan Morgan really took an innovative approach. He saw the work of the grass roots activist in Farm Aid. He saw Vice President Al Gore's movie "Inconvenient Truth," and he was motivated to address global climate change. And he realized that one person, even a teenager,
could really make a difference.
Joan Schafer: That was Ruth McCully speaking. Ruth directs EPA’s environmental education program at our Washington headquarters. And I’m Joan Schafer of EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, and welcome to “Environment Matters,” our series of podcasts.
Ryan Morgan, a senior at North Pocono High School in Moscow, Pennsylvania, is no ordinary teenager. He was one of ten winners from across the country of this year’s President’s Environmental Youth Awards. Ryan received this prestigious recognition for educating his community about the energy conservation benefits of switching from incandescent to compact fluorescent lighting. Along the way, his assertive approach with families and influential organizations gave him valuable entrepreneurial, marketing and publicity skills that enabled him to pursue his ambitious goals.
Ryan Morgan: I raised money through a raffle and through writing to companies to get corporate donations to purchase the energy-saving CFL light bulbs and distribute them in my community. I raised enough money to distribute two thousand in my community. About one thousand were handed out one at a time with pamphlets at different events. The second thousand were distributed throughout my community in packages of ten. We went door to door basically to the majority of my hometown.
Joan Schafer: A highlight for the ten regional winners is a trip to Washington, where they have an opportunity to share their ideas with fellow honorees, see the sights, and even meet some Washington VIPs.
Ryan Morgan: We gave a presentation on our project to the people from EPA. Another main part of this ceremony was the reception at the EPA Headquarters with the Director of the EPA, and she gave a briefing and we all were able to get a picture taken with her and meet with her. That was a great night because we went off to meet with a cabinet level official. The Scranton Times Tribune had an article about the event. It mentioned me winning this award and another award in the article. Pretty good for someone my age.
Joan Schafer: Yes, Ryan, not bad at all for a 16 year old. And EPA’s Ruth McCully certainly enjoyed organizing the events and learning from this distinguished group of students.
Ruth McCully: We had tours for them, and their enthusiasm and their dedication, their commitment to a cleaner environment was inspiring for all of us.
Joan Schafer: For more information about this national recognition program, including how to nominate worthy students, visit our website at www.epa.gov/peya. And thanks for joining us on “Environment Matters,” our series of podcasts.