Region 1: EPA New England
2010 Environmental Merit Award Recipients
- Lifetime Achievement
- Environmental, Community, Academia, & Nonprofit Organizations
- Special Recognition
- Business, Industry, Trade or Professional Organizations
- Download 2010 EMA Program (PDF) (44 pp, 1.4 MB, about PDF)
The program they founded now includes over 20 courses and two Master degree concentrations, and George Buckley and Jack Spengler have become leaders in distance education programs, virtual field trips and the latest topics in sustainability. Over 5,000 students have taken courses in Environmental Management, Global Climate Change, Sustainable Communities and Life Cycle Analysis, and the programs have attracted students from business, industry, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, the military, education and the media. Students have taken course material back to their towns, schools, industries and businesses to share knowledge, change practices and expand environmental awareness. Buckley and Spengler lead the Environmental Club and have joined with local high schools to bring students and teachers into their courses. Home-schooled students also have taken their classes. A special outreach program provides on-site field trip assistance to local schools, and they have sponsored international collaboration with colleges, agencies and public schools in Cyprus, Taiwan, the Netherlands Antilles and Chile. Beyond their endeavors with the Sustainability and Environmental Management Program, the pair are active in environmental consulting and community service, serving on many boards of environmental and scientific organizations. Both have had deep experience as field researchers.
Marcia P. "Marcy" Crowley (posthumous)
Over the last 25 years Marcy Crowley was a leading environmental advocate in local government. She was a passionately engaged woman in her community and her family; Marcy passed away in April at the age of 86. Her community involvement in Wayland as the local government voice for the environment makes her a distinguished candidate for a Lifetime Achievement Award. Marcy's community involvement began casually enough, as a member of the local Ski Club. This involvement escalated into participation in the Town Government, Wayland League of Women Voters, Wayland Finance Committee and the MBTA Advisory Board. Then she got involved in the Advisory Board for Environmental League of Massachusetts. Marcy's environmental dedication grew. She was a founding member of the Massachusetts Municipal Association's (MMA) Environmental Policy Committee which began in 1983. She was the chair of the committee for twelve years, from 1993-2005 and remained on the committee until 2009. Marcy worked on a variety of environmental issues such as identifying cost-effective ways to close municipal landfills, a comprehensive recycling plan for the state, state revolving loan fund legislation for water and sewer infrastructure construction programs, and the solid waste master plan.
Marcy also served on the MMA Board, the Massachusetts Selectman Association Board (MSA) and she was a founding member of Women Elected Municipal Officials (WEMO). She was active in MSA and WEMO until her passing.
Lee E. Dunbar
Lee Dunbar could be considered the face of the many water quality planning and management successes of the CTDEP over the last 30 years. His genius for tackling the most complex management challenges and producing effective environmental outcomes is unsurpassed. He has played a key role in the development of Connecticut's programs for Water Quality Based Effluent Limits, Toxicity Testing, 303(d) assessments, Total Maximum Daily Loads, Nitrogen Trading, Water Quality Standards and Criteria, Nutrient Criteria and Streamflow Standards. While Lee led the presentation and negotiations surrounding these programs with convincing arguments to support his proposals, he always credited the staff as "the brains" referring to himself as "the mouth." His underlying theme of "Integrated Water Resource Management" (IWRM) made certain that the interests and expertise of a broad cross-section of professionals and the public would be recruited to ensure a comprehensive analysis, and investment, that would have the desired environmental outcome. "To develop an approach for the future management of the state's water resources founded on sound science, sustainability and the public trust" reflects his philosophy and ethic regarding the IWRM charge. This translated to a strong scientific foundation that relied on physical, biological and chemical integrity as the cornerstones of success. Lee's outstanding efforts at the state level gained him regional and national attention early in his career. In particular, he recognized the importance of the Clean Water Act, state statutory authority and regulations and Water Quality Standards as essential tools for the success of water quality management. Lee was a regular participant in EPA, ASIWPCA, NEIWPCC and many other professional organization work groups, committees and conferences where water quality standards and management practices were the topic. Recently, he served on EPA/ASIWPCA efforts for Indicator Bacteria Criteria/Innovative TMDL Development and the Nutrient Innovations Task Group. In addition, he was known both at the regional and national EPA Offices of Water as a person who was generous with his time, famous for his after-hour discussions on many topics and expert on how to best implement state and federal programs to accomplish the environmental gains for which they were intended. Finally, Lee encouraged the regulated community to support the IWRM concept, recognizing that they shared common goals for the environment.
As President of the NRPA, Richard Grant takes a multifaceted approach to managing the many long tenured members of its Board of Directors, the Chairs of the committees and the day to day affairs of NRPA. With assistance from EPA and the Town of Narragansett, he spearheaded the program that has completed 3 of the 11 proposed 'state of the art' Detention Pond Systems constructed at the river's edge, replacing straight drainage piping of contaminated runoff that previously flowed unfiltered directly into the Narrow River. These new detention ponds provide natural settling and filtration for this runoff and have improved water quality significantly. Now in its 18th year, the Narrow River 'River Watch' program utilizes many volunteers who, with assistance from URI's laboratories, regularly sample, analyze and evaluate changes in water quality in the river. The NRPA's "AWEsome" graduate level 'for credit' education program teaches local science teachers about the importance of the environment of the river and its watershed. It then instructs them on how to convey this information to their students. Thousands of local area school students have learned from this process. For the past 21 years NRPA regularly has provided volunteer judges and has awarded prizes for area school science fair exhibits. The Association publishes newsletters frequently with important environmental information for its members, as well as for residents of the tri-town watershed area. Richard has volunteered with NRPA since its inception more than 40 years ago. He has been tireless, and successful, in his efforts with NRPA's hundreds of regular supporters, ensuring that adequate support is available for its annual River Run Road race, the Mile Turnabout Swim, the annual Kayak Raffle, as well as each of NRPA's important programs and other outreach efforts.
For 37 years, Paul Hogan of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has made invaluable contributions to achieving Clean Water Act goals. Paul began his career as a staff engineer in the Technical Services Branch of the Massachusetts Division of Water Pollution Control (DWPC) in 1972 after graduating from Tufts University and earned two Masters degrees from Northeastern University in Environmental Engineering and Public Administration. An accomplished engineer, historian, and administrator, Paul served MassDEP in various technical and supervisory capacities, most recently as the Surface Water Discharge Permit Program (NPDES) Section Chief, and before that as Deputy Regional Director of the MassDEP Central Regional Office, overseeing the drinking water, wetland protection and waste water programs. He was the first head of the DWPC Basin Planning Section, responsible for statewide water quality monitoring, analysis and management under Section 303e of the CWA. Paul was instrumental in establishing the Blackstone River Initiative, the largest interstate water quality project at the time, as well as the integration of the Massachusetts Watershed Initiative into the MassDEP Regional Offices. Water quality is a core component in the quality of life of the nation's citizens, and the cornerstone of EPA's efforts to address remaining water quality challenges is the NPDES permit program. No one has dedicated his professional life to the success of the NPDES program and the protection and restoration of water quality more than Paul Hogan. Over the course of his career, he has worked on, managed and directed all aspects of water permitting and water resource projects. At MassDEP he was known and respected among the regulated community and professional groups as a knowledgeable expert and trusted public servant. His institutional knowledge of current and past permitting activities and his untiring willingness to share his experience with citizens of the Commonwealth, as well as local, state and federal regulators, made Paul a valued and respected professional. Paul combined his practical expertise with an uncommon warm and personal touch in all his dealings, able to mediate between and among the various interests that seek to influence the outcome of any NPDES permit deliberation.
Don Hudson joined the staff of Chewonki in 1966 and has been president of the Chewonki Foundation since 1991. He has inspired thousands of Chewonki students and teachers and has dedicated himself to environmental education and conservation efforts throughout Maine. Don was head naturalist and natural- history teacher from 1982 through 1999 and has continued to teach a semester-long bird class, in which students learn 110 species. The course encourages students to refine their powers of listening and observation. Don was instrumental in the creation of Chewonki's environmental-education materials for the public, particularly teachers. In addition, the first solid-waste management manual for Maine teachers (1993), the Wild Gulf Project (1994-2000), and Pathways to a Sustainable Future (2001-) have all been the result of Don's knowledge and leadership. In 1996, the year before Maine Yankee shut down its nuclear power plant in Wiscasset, Don took the director of the Land for Maine's Future Program on a tour of a 200-acre peninsula called Eaton Farm, part of Maine Yankee's landholdings. When asked for his opinion about ultimate disposition of the property, Don suggested that it be conserved for public use and enjoyment. Chewonki was chosen as recipient of the land in 2004 for the purpose of creating a nature preserve open to the public. Don conceived the Back River Trail as a way to link Wiscasset Village to Chewonki Neck, and it will extend 15 miles and be Maine's longest coastal hiking trail outside Acadia National Park. In 2001, the Northern Forest Alliance invited Chewonki to consider acquisition of a commercial campground on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. A few months later, Chewonki was asked to consider owning the land underneath the commercial lease as part of the Katahdin Forest Project of The Nature Conservancy. Don raised the funds in 13 days and Chewonki now protects 75 acres of riverfront land for public, low-impact recreation. Also in 2001, Chewonki negotiated with the Island Institute, with Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) as mediator, to acquire and protect four Maine islands. This unique arrangement combined protection of coastal islands with open space and overnight, low-impact camping. The easements held by MCHT require Chewonki to maintain campsites for the general public on each of the islands. Finally, in 2009, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Maine Yankee asked Don and Chewonki to manage the restoration of fish passage on Montsweag Brook, the largest stream in Wiscasset, as part of a natural-resources damages settlement. This requires the removal of Maine Yankee's dam and will result in the return of as many as seven species of fish to the river.
While working to get a Master's degree in marine studies, John Leo's studies were interrupted by a call to serve in the Vietnam War as well as in Europe and the US. While in Virginia on duty, he was involved in firefighting and hazardous materials spill response. This work led to a job as a toxicologist in the RI Department of Health, beginning in 1973. There, he analyzed toxic substances and published several articles on drug extraction and toxic materials. In 1979 he moved to the RI Department of Environmental Management as a sanitary engineer, using his chemistry background to address chemical cleanups. He worked in remediation of landfills, Superfund sites, Nike sites and US Navy sites, among others. He was charged with defining hazards at cleanups, coming up with cleanup methods, creating work plans, instructing personnel and setting up safety procedures.
In 1980, John realized that DEM had a duty to first responders and he developed a program providing emergency services for hazardous material incidents. He bought protective equipment and reference guides, as a start. Thus began the DEM Emergency Responder – a 24-7 position. Since taking that position, John has been known for giving back hundreds of sick and vacation hours every year. In 1981 he started teaching hazardous material classes to first responders and he has conducted HazMat training within DEM, the state and neighboring states. He has trained fire and police departments, private industry, farm workers and others. His ideas and information will live on for decades with the people he has trained and mentored. During John's nearly four decades of service, the country has seen the birth of RCRA cleanup laws, CERCLA right-to-know regulations, Superfund, Emergency Response and Homeland Security. Through it all, he has been on the cutting edge of hazardous material spill response.
James Mersereau (posthumous)
Jim Mersereau, who died in December, was nominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award for the energy efficiency, renewable energy and pollution prevention initiatives he led as general mountain manager for Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway, NH. Jim's commitment to doing the right thing led to a transformation of the ski industry in the Northeast. According to Ben Wilcox, Cranmore Mountain Resort's current general manger, "Jim's passion and energy ... was the reason Cranmore's management team supported many of the initiatives he brought to the table. His leadership was an inspiration to the entire Cranmore team, along with the entire NH ski industry."
Jim began working at Cranmore in 1971 and for many years was its general manager. Among his many successes, he made Cranmore the first ski area in the east to use biodiesel in grooming equipment; he initiated the use of biodegradable hydrolic fluids to reduce the environmental impact from leaks; he created "Biodiesel Days" to educate customers; he made Cranmore the only mountain to publicly support the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative; and he changed to snowmaking equipment that uses 60 percent less water. Jim's efforts earned Cranmore a Community Service Award for energy efficiency from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and a Governor's Commendation for Leadership and Initiative on Climate Change Issues, both in 2008. The respect Jim received from his peers in the industry was reflected in his being asked to be on the grooming crew for the 2006 Salt Lake City Olympics. His leadership made Cranmore and the industry more aware of environmental impacts and more willing to find solutions. The team that nominated Jim called him Cranmore's internal champion. Now he can be recognized as a champion for all of us.
Arthur Screpetis (posthumous)
During 37 years with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and throughout his life, Arthur Screpetis was a champion of the natural environment. Art, who died in December, leaves an enduring impact on the environment and an impressive list of accomplishments. Art began his career with the state in 1972 at the Division of Water Pollution Control and soon transferred to the Technical Services Program, where as a member of the illustrious "dirty dozen" he did water quality and biological monitoring surveys. Art specialized in evaluating rivers, streams and wetlands. Stream and lake inventories that he developed are still used today in Massachusetts' water quality management programs and Geographical Information Systems. Over 20 to 30 years, Art spearheaded hundreds of projects. His work on the Massachusetts Watershed Initiative and the Massachusetts Estuaries Program were especially noteworthy.
Art's quiet, unassuming nature and extensive technical knowledge were key to his effectiveness. In 1996 Art was awarded the state Manuel Carballo Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Service due primarily to his outstanding work on the Watershed Initiative. Art was committed to using science to build quality into every aspect of environmental projects. He also mentored countless people professionally and reached out to the community. It was not uncommon for Art to spend weekends doing everything from observing about wildlife to holding special training sessions for the Boy Scouts of America on aquatic plant species. As a wildlife biologist, he was one of the first scientists in Massachusetts to begin mapping beaver movements in the Quabbin Watershed and the migration of woodcock. He was also one of the first scientists to document the presence of coyote in the Northeast. Art's legacy of accomplishments reminds us the difference one person can make. As a gate keeper of sound science and lifelong steward of the environment, Arthur Screpetis truly deserves the EPA Environmental Merit Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Brian Woolley (posthumous)
Brian Woolley, who died in October, made schools safer for children and faculty in New Bedford, his hometown. After living on top of a waste dump for much of his life, he suffered and died from diseases that may have contributed to his illness. And this waste dump became the catalyst for his work to keep students safe. In 2000, Brian first took on industrial pollution problems tied to the Keith Middle School, New Bedford High School and Paul Walsh Athletic Field — all located around a dump site near Parker Street where companies for decades burned trash.
In 2000, the city had discovered contamination at McCoy Field, where the Keith Middle School was later built. When Brian heard the city was planning to build a school on that site, he founded Wasted Away, now called C.L.E.A.N., a neighborhood activist group that worked to get officials to fix problems at the middle school. New Bedford High School was also built on the site, which is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other toxic substances. Many of Brian's initial concerns were addressed and he once said Keith Middle School is on "one of the cleanest contaminated sites in the city."
In 2007, at the age of 50, Brian was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. A lifelong resident of New Bedford, Brian lived on Summit Street with his wife near the site of the former city burn dump. He never knew if living on this site contributed to either his ASL or his 1976 diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He was involved in studies looking at correlations, but did not know what role the environment had. When he learned he was sick, Brian told the New Bedford Standard Times his one regret was "I would have started (being an environmental activist) a lot earlier." As a result of his environmental work, Brian was recognized as New Bedford Man of the Year in 2008 by the Standard Times.
Brian's best friend was his wife of 32 years, Maureen. Father to three children, Brian worked as a truck driver for Hallsmith-Sysco and later was a shuttle driver for the Woods Hole-Martha's Vineyard-Nantucket Steamship Authority. He was president of the Nautical Whaler's Parrot Head Club, something he and his wife founded in 2000. Mayor Scott W. Lang, who was a longtime friend and ally against city officials trying to build the Keith Middle School, said Brian ran Wasted Away "as public service — not as someone grinding an ax. Wasted Away was him — he was the guy day-in and day-out who was involved."
US Geological Survey NH/VT Water Science Center
Arsenic is one of the most common contaminants found in New England groundwater. Even small doses can have serious health effects. About 5 million people in New England rely on groundwater for drinking water. Joe Ayotte and his colleagues at the US Geological Survey NH/VT Water Science Center created tools to help regulators better predict arsenic occurrence and better understand the correlation between arsenic and public health. Their research also allows regulators to understand the correlations between geology and arsenic. The work of Joe and the center has been cited by scientific papers at least 87 other times. Other arsenic investigations in New England have used Joe's work as a foundation for their own. And beyond the scientific community, Joe and the center have made sure that their efforts are used in real life applications. EPA New England has an ongoing project with Joe and the center looking at ways to reduce arsenic flowing into drinking water wells. We are lucky to have Joe and his colleagues at the USGS working to solve the arsenic problem in New England.
Jacqui Vachon-Jackson and Steve Fischer
Jacqui Vachon-Jackson, director of housing programs for the Worcester Community Development Program, has won more than $46 million of HUD lead abatement grants to help make low-income housing safe. Steve Fischer of the Worcester Regional Environmental Council successfully started and coordinated the Worcester Community Mobilization Network to prevent childhood lead poisoning in Worcester. Together, their work for the safety of children in Worcester deserves recognition. Before she came to Worcester, Jacqui ran lead abatement programs in Somerville and Lowell. Based on her work she was named to the Worcester position and will run the city's Neighborhood Stabilization Fund Program, in addition to the HUD lead abatement grant program. She began her career as a regional health educator for the state DPH Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and has dedicated more than 15 years to high-risk communities. Fischer's Community Mobilization Network brought together faith-based groups, refugee and migrant organizations and other agencies and people in Worcester to reduce childhood lead poisoning. As a result of his work he was named director of the Regional Environmental Council.
NH Charitable Foundation in Concord, NH
Dick Ober, vice president of civic leadership and communications at the NH Charitable Foundation, is a lifelong conservationist whose work on climate and energy issues in 2009 was strengthened by his previous experiences. Before joining the foundation in 2008, he directed the Monadnock Conservancy and before that worked for 16 years for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Last year Dick focused on developing a new energy economy for New Hampshire. As chair of the NH Public Utilities Commission's Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy Board, he helps coordinate programs and policies to reduce the state's dependence on fossil fuels and increase its clean energy economy. He has played a central role in the state's climate and energy debate and has influenced how money is spent on energy issues. He also was instrumental in launching the NH Energy and Climate Collaborative, which has members from 18 business, government agencies and nonprofit institutions. This group makes sure the NH Climate Action Plan is put in place, not shelved. Dick and two colleagues developed the vision for the University of New Hampshire-based Green Launching Pad. The initiative, a partnership between UNH and the state, is focused on bringing new green technologies to the marketplace, spurring new clean technology companies and supporting creation of green jobs.
IWhether for protecting the Pawtuxet River or supporting Rhode Island farmers or currently serving as president of the West Bay Land Trust, Steve Stycos of Cranston, RI, deserves to be recognized. Steve has worked for more than a decade to bring thousands of Rhode Islanders to the Pawtuxet River each year through canoe rides, as well as wildlife and firefly walks. Steve created and maintains a network of trails, removing invasive species and planting native trees in the watershed. Most of his work is through Friends of the Pawtuxet, a nonprofit Steve founded in 1982 and still leads. He involves youth groups like Boy Scouts, Youth Build Providence and school groups, in his activities. Steve also supports local farmers, getting locally grown produce into schools. He helped launch and still coordinates the Pawtuxet Village Farmer's Market, which draws hundreds of customers to 10 farm stands. He secured grants for berry box recycling, for a composting workshop and for fresh food cooking demonstrations. Steve was directly responsible for the Cranston School Department being the first in the state to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers.
South Berwick, Maine
Sophie Towle is a person with remarkable energy in promoting composting, recycling and other environmental initiatives. It happens that she is also a sixth grader. Now at the Marshwood Middle School in South Berwick, Sophie was first made aware of Climate Change in third grade and soon began to make a difference. She did the research that led her school to take on a composting program, and eventually spread the program to two other elementary schools in her hometown. She researched ways to compost milk cartons in her school cafeteria and convinced several schools in her district to do so after corresponding with the environmental coordinator for Tetra-Pak (one of the major makers of milk cartons). Sophie searched online, found a farmer in a neighboring town, met with him and she and her new principal worked out a plan whereby the farmer would receive milk cartons as well as organic waste. She then convinced the school to switch from polystyrene bowls to sugar cane bowls for the salad bar, which are also taken to the "farm" for composting. Sophie made bookmarks out of recycled materials and sold them to raise money for real silverware, until she found out the district would save money by switching. In July, Sophie was sponsored by Tetra-Pak when she went to Las Vegas as a workshop presenter at the National Nutrition Conference. Sophie is a true model for what children can accomplish for the future of our planet.
Energy Manager for Cranston (RI) Public School District, Cranston, RI
Karen Verrengia has improved the energy efficiency of Cranston, RI, through her work with the Cranston school system, beginning in 2006. Right from the start, her task was to improve the energy efficiency of the schools' buildings and reduce the amount of energy the schools used. Karen's focus on achieving reductions centered on working with the people who make a school run: facilities' employees and building occupants. Her focus was on changing behaviors. The schools have avoided total energy costs of $2 million since then. Karen credits technicians, custodial staff, faculty and students with taking energy efficiency seriously and helping the schools improve. Her focus on changing behavior helped the Cranston schools reduce energy use without equipment purchases or upgrades. This focus will be replicable, and particularly attractive to districts with tighter budgets. Thanks to Karen, four Cranston elementary schools in 2009 received Energy Star plaques for superior energy performance. They did this without benefit of major retrofits, a success story that can inspire other schools struggling with budget cuts and energy costs.
Environmental, Community, Academia & Nonprofit Organizations
Big Island Pond Corporation
Variable milfoil, an exotic weed species, has threatened the rich diversity of plant and animal species found in Big Island Pond, a 528-acre lake in Atkinson, Hampstead and Derry, NH. In 2009, members of the board of the Big Island Pond Corporation, which owns water rights to the lake, chose not to use the chemical herbicide 2.4D in treating waters affected by milfoil, which spreads quickly in boat propellers. Residents organized to reduce the infestation instead, using a method known as diver-assisted suction harvesting and hand-pulling. Residents redesigned a pontoon boat into a 24-foot suction harvester. A smaller harvester was built for shallow areas and a local scuba diver enlisted a crew of divers and organized a certification program. They scheduled up to 12 dives a week to reduce the density of milfoil. After a year of education and harvesting, dense growth areas were significantly reduced. Two weed watchers have been trained to watch each of the 16 coves on the lake. And the newly formed Friends of Big Island Pond is working with the corporation to make sure natural resources of the pond are preserved.
North Andover, Mass.
Brooks School in North Andover, Mass., has been a leader in reducing electricity on its campus. The school last year invested more than $60,000 to install computers and software that encourages changes in behavior from students and adults on campus. The school became a test site for pioneering technology developed by TellEmotion, a new company formed by students and faculty at Dartmouth College. In addition to installing 25 electric meters that monitor energy performance of buildings, TellEmotion's technology includes animated polar bears whose "happiness" is directly tied into real-time electricity use in each dorm. When computers are left running or power strips not flipped off, for instance, the bear will fall into the ice cold water as displayed on monitors located where students see the impact of their behavior. After nearly a year, the school has seen that electricity consumption drops 10 to 12 percent when the bears are visible. Students have now begun a three-year effort through the Brooks Environmental Club to reduce electrical use on campus. In addition to its work in electric reduction, the school has also taken steps in recycling, community gardens integrating local farm produce, green cleaning and an environmental science curriculum that uses real issues on the school campus.
Episcopal Diocese of Vermont
At its 2007 annual convention, the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont called on its 49 parishes to do energy audits of their buildings so they could cut energy use. By 2009, half had baseline data on fuel and electricity use, half had developed plans to improve their energy efficiency and nearly half had finished audits. Bishop Thomas Ely said then that environmental considerations had to be built into every major Diocesan decision. To back that, the Diocese is trying to reduce the use of bottled water and paper products and is encouraging the use of locally produced food. The diocese also wants support for a solar farm on its campus. Already, the parishes have completed many energy efficiency projects. There are environmental stewards in half the parishes and by the end of last year 12 percent of parishes had eco-teams in progress or formed.
Greater Brockton Asthma Coalition
The Greater Brockton Asthma Coalition, a team of more than 27 organizations, was coordinated by the Healthy Homes Program to focus on high-risk neighborhoods in the Brockton area, which has one of the highest asthma emergency room and hospitalization rates in the state. The coalition assesses houses for environmental and safety hazards and educates residents about asthma and healthy home techniques. In visits to more than 100 families suffering from asthma and other respiratory conditions, the coalition identified asthma triggers like smoke from woodstoves, mold and tobacco smoke. They offered to remove mold, provide fans, install safer heating systems and do moisture control or weatherization, among other things. The coalition has organized parent workshops in schools and trained more than 50 nurses, teachers and administrators to recognize and reduce asthma triggers, more safely manage insects and other pests and report indoor air quality problems. As a result, the Brockton school system has increased the number of students with asthma action plans, linking health care providers with school and home. The group is providing this training to all southeastern Massachusetts school nurses, early childcare providers and weatherization programs.
Green Needham Collaborative
The Green Needham Collaborative in just three years has dramatically increased public awareness and participation in the need to reduce energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. The collaborative works with Needham residents, municipal government, schools, local businesses, churches and civic organizations to promote energy efficiency, energy conservation, and clean energy as a way of cutting carbon emissions and saving money. It also supports and promotes all organizations doing related work under the Green Needham "umbrella" by supplying a forum where different groups can communicate and coordinate activities. The collaborative works with groups in the neighboring communities of Newton, Dedham, and Wellesley. The 10% Energy Challenge, GNC's flagship project, was introduced in January 2009, designed in collaboration with an Olin College of Engineering student to give users a simple way to make energy-saving plans. Using an on-line checklist, users can calculate how many pounds of CO2 would be kept out of the atmosphere by each action. In April 2009, eight local civic groups earned awards for motivating their members to take the 10% Challenge. Five Needham schools also participated and by the end of 2009, the 464 households that participated in the 10% Energy Challenge had committed to actions that would keep 3,961,874 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere each year. The current goal is to double participation to reach 1,000 households.
Home Energy Efficiency Team
Audrey Schulman, Sue Butler, Steve Morr-Wineman, Rob Riman, Matthew Schreiner, Jason Taylor, Lilah Glick
The Home Energy Efficiency Team in Cambridge was formed in 2008 to organize free weatherization parties to teach volunteers how to lower their energy bills and carbon emissions. The program not only saves energy, but also builds community, creates social marketing for energy efficiency and helps to facilitate exchanges of ideas. The Home Energy Efficiency Team addresses the major problem of older housing being very energy efficient. HEET, as it is called, formed with the goal of bringing neighbors together to weatherize homes in Cambridge. Using the barn-raising model, the all-volunteer team aims to reduce the carbon footprint of specific houses, teach participants how to make their own homes more efficient and build a sense of community. HEET has drawn a tremendous response from the community, with monthly barn-raisings. Participants have included neighbors, contractors and city officials. In 2009, HEET began to collaborate with other groups and replicate the program in other communities as far away as Worcester. The team was recognized by the Mass Climate Action Network as a "Climate Superstar." In less than two years, the Home Energy Efficiency Team has weatherized 30 buildings and eight institutions, held 22 events and switched 1,368 light bulbs to CLFs.
Homeowner's Rehab, Inc.
Homeowner's Rehab, Inc., known as HRI, is a leader in the greening of affordable housing. With a long track record of building green affordable buildings, it won a LEED certificate for its Trolley Square property. Over the last two years, HRI has shifted its focus to energy retrofits of existing buildings at its 64 properties. Retrofits in the past year include the gut-rehab of a building that caught fire. The goal was to have net-zero energy use, reduce heating loss through insulation, conserve water and seal the envelope. In 2009, HRI focused on two of the least efficient buildings in its portfolio. Boilers were replaced in these four-story masonry buildings with high efficiency condensing units. This along with other improvements appears to have saved between 40 and 45 percent compared to former heating energy use levels. HRI is a leader among nonprofit affordable housing owners in its effort to reduce their impact on the environment.
New England Carbon Challenge
Julia Dundorf and Denise Blaha
Julia Dundorf of Clean Air Cool Planet and Denise Blaha of the University of New Hampshire developed a program in October 2007 called the New Hampshire Carbon Challenge to address climate change as well as poor air quality in New England. The Carbon Challenge has been so successful that communities across New England asked to be involved, resulting in the recent name change to the New England Carbon Challenge. To date, it has reduced CO2 emissions by 17,595,616 pounds and has saved residents $1,834,580.00. Its goal is to help residents identify actions they can take to reduce energy consumption, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. With its emphasis on metrics, the web-based Carbon Calculator can easily track progress in each community that uses it. New Hampshire Local Energy Committees have used the Carbon Challenge to engage residents in the idea of energy efficiency. The New England Carbon Challenge addresses climate change by offering residents a choice of concrete, doable actions and takes advantage of the grassroots movement in New England to show people the consequences of their actions.
Sustainable Belmont is being recognized for two substantial accomplishments in particular. The first accomplishment was finishing a Climate Action Plan for Belmont. The second was adoption by the selectmen and town meeting of the first two major recommendations in this plan. The recommendations were to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and to create a permanent energy committee responsible for this goal. Established in 2005, the group is charged with helping the town achieve a single part of Belmont's vision as determined by the Town's Vision 21 Implementation Committee: to become "an environmentally responsible community." The volunteer community group will work with homeowners and citizens, promoting climate change programs. It will provide public education on related issues. Sustainable Belmont is proud to have had its platform adopted.
Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse
The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse has been a leader in reducing the toxicity of packaging that enters the solid waste stream, and ultimately, the environment in New England and across the country. The clearinghouse helps its 10 member states, including Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island put into effect toxics in packaging laws. Over the past few years, the clearinghouse has used x-ray fluorescent technology to screen more than 750 packaging samples to detect the presence of heavy metals regulated by state laws. Lead and cadmium in particular are commonly used in packaging materials. This Brattleboro-based organization in 2007 first sent the results of its screening projects to companies distributing packaging alleged to violate state laws. As a result, many companies changed their actions, reducing the amount of toxic packaging entering the solid waste stream. Many of the companies contacted were nationally recognized brand owners with great influence. The changes made have had a tremendous ripple effect throughout the world-wide packaging supply chain.
City of Burlington
The City of Burlington, VT, established a multi-departmental Stormwater Task Force in January 2007 with the charge of assessing the city's regulations and practices, as they related to stormwater management, and recommending solutions. The Task Force found that Burlington's existing regulations and lack of funding and staff to be deficient. To address this, it overhauled the City's antiquated Chapter 26 wastewater regulation and added sections that address administration and funding, illicit discharges and connections to the city sewer systems, construction site erosion control, post-construction stormwater management and enforcement. In December 2008, Burlington's City Council unanimously adopted updated regulation Chapter 26, and in April 2009, it was implemented with adequate staffing and funding. Because of the Task Force's work, Burlington has addressed a major source of water pollution in Lake Champlain.
Connecticut Disaster Debris Plan Team
Tessa Gutowski, Frank Gagliardo, Judy Pahl, Paul Gibb, Paul Greco
This Team, comprised of Tessa Gutowski and Frank Gagliardo of the CT DEP; Judy Pahl and Paul Gibb, Jr. of the CT DEMHS and Paul Greco of the CT Department of Administrative Services, is recognized for its effort to establish statewide plans and contracts for Connecticut to manage debris in the event of a major hurricane or other natural disaster. The Team coordinated their efforts with various state government agencies, drafted Connecticut's Disaster Debris Management Plan, and secured essential contractor services for debris removal and monitoring. Connecticut's Debris Plan, with prequalified contractors, is the first statewide plan approved by FEMA and is a model in New England and nationally.
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Lean Implementation Team
Amey Marrella, Robert Bell, Jeff Caiola, Karen Caliendo, Pat DeRosa, Diane Duva, Peter Francis, Robert Girard, Tessa Gutowski, Kim Hudak, Rick Jacobson, Nicole Lugli, Elizabeth McAuliffe, Ric Pirolli, Peter Zack
Through the LEAN initiative, Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection is increasing the agency's efficiency by eliminating wasteful, time-consuming steps from permitting, enforcement and other processes, while maintaining the state's strong environmental standards. These LEAN improvements allow the agency to focus on its true mission of protecting the state's environment, while freeing staff resources to address new environmental challenges. The LEAN process improvement approach identifies and minimizes wasted time and effort. Through "Kaizen" events, week-long exercises, staff teams identify needed improvements and develop a one-year plan to implement them. LEAN projects result in more efficient processes in permitting, inspection and enforcement. In this era of tight budgets, CT DEP's LEAN initiative puts more staff on the front line of environmental protection as efficiencies increase.
City of Malden PAYT Program
Malden Mayor Richard C. Howard and seven members of the City Council voted to implement Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) trash collection effective in June 2008, and the program started the following October. In an era of an unprecedented decline in property values, tax revenue and state aid to cities and towns, communities must raise resources and cut costs to maintain vital services. The PAYT program helps with this. It promotes waste reduction by allowing each resident to control the cost of trash disposal and provides free, unlimited recycling. Under the program ALL residents, not just homeowners, pay their fair share of the costs of collecting and disposing of the trash they generate. The program at first was unpopular, but it exceeded expectations after one year. Compliance is over 98%, recycling increased by 74%, solid waste tonnage dropped by 50%, and the City has become a regional and national model.
Partnerships for Green Jobs for the Water Sector
Massachusetts Water Works Association, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Minuteman Career and Tech. H.S. – Lexington MA, Connecticut Section of American Water Works Association, Water and People Program – Portland CT, Connecticut Department of Public Health and New England Water Works Association
Providing safe public drinking water rests on the shoulders of a highly challenged workforce of drinking water operators who are as critical an asset as the pipes and pumps that convey source water to treatment plants and distribution systems. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 40 to 50 percent of drinking water operators in the United States will be eligible for retirement in 5 to 10 years, with New England the hardest hit. This nomination recognizes the inspiring work of the Massachusetts and Connecticut agencies and associations for pulling together to solve this upcoming crisis, while fostering a new work force that is trained, energized, and environmentally conscious. Massachusetts and Connecticut embraced the challenge of training a new cadre of water system operators who will be ready to take on green jobs in the water sector. To promote new enthusiasm for the water profession, Massachusetts and Connecticut formed unique public-private partnerships that are national models. Under the Vocational Technical High School Initiative, high school teachers like Carol Brown of Minuteman Vocational High School worked closely with water utility operators and state regulators to offer their students detailed and hands-on training on drinking water operations. In order to engage adults for possible green jobs in the water sector, a 15-hour classroom course with optional field trips was also designed and offered at the Worcester Public Schools' Night Life Program. Finally, to bridge the gap between training and job placement, the Massachusetts Partnership provided critical internships for newly trained students, putting them on a pathway to green jobs. Because of the resource-intensive effort that was needed to pull off these innovative programs, including the comprehensive tools and curriculum produced by the partners, the Massachusetts Green Jobs for Water Initiative has been touted as a national model. Like Massachusetts, Connecticut led the way to prepare students for fulfilling careers in the water sector. Under the oversight of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the Connecticut Section of the American Water Works Association designed and funded a pilot program in Portland, Connecticut called the Water and People Program. The popular high school course provides hands-on instruction, features trips to water utilities, supports a local cable show, and prepares students to pass a water operators certification exam.
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, RI
Great Outdoors Pursuit
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management's Division of Parks and Recreation launched the R1 Great Outdoors Pursuit to reconnect families with the outdoors, encourage more physical activity, build the next generation of environmental stewards and showcase Rhode Island state parks and forests. Over a 12-week period in 2009, teams were challenged to visit seven different state forests and parks, where they participated in outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, fishing, rock climbing, volleyball, kayaking, horseback riding, geo caching, tree identification, maple sugaring demonstrations and old-fashion lawn games. The events also featured naturalist programs and environmental and health educational exhibits led by DEM, game partners and exhibitors. Last year, more than 1,600 participants on 378 registered teams reunited with the great outdoors and became more active and fit. By re-engaging Rhode Islanders with the natural world the state parks have to offer, the Department of Environmental Management has seen a steady increase in the number of patrons visiting Rhode Island's park and recreation facilities. The R1 Great Outdoors Pursuit is a collaborative effort between the RI Department of Environmental Management and numerous game partners including the RI Department of Health; United HealthCare; Macy's; Hasbro, Inc.; Kids First; REI; Reserve America; Burlingame Corporation and Whole Foods Markets.
Every spring, students across the country become RecycleManiacs competing for national supremacy to determine which school can reduce, reuse and recycle the most campus waste. From January 17 to March 27, this 10-week challenge ignites classic college rivalries, rallying students, faculty and staff to increase on-campus recycling rates beyond their collegiate competitors. RecycleMania wrapped up its 10th annual recycling competition in late March, with over 84.5 million pounds of recyclables and organics recovered from 607 colleges and universities across the country.
Schools participate in any of eight categories, including the "Grand Champion," which measures recycling as a percentage of the total waste generation; the "Per Capita Classic," which measures the largest amount of combined recyclables per person; the "Waste Minimization" competition, which tracks the lowest amount of waste per person; and the "Gorilla" Prize, which acknowledges the schools with the highest total combine recycling weights. In addition to these main categories, schools also compete in targeted material categories to see who can recycle the most paper, cardboard, cans and bottles and food waste on a per capita basis.
This year we had eight finalist honors go to five New England institutions. The US Coast Guard Academy was a finalist in the "Per Capita Classic" and the "Gorilla Prize" for food service organics; Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering was also a finalist in the "Per Capita Classic," and the "Gorilla Prize" for paper as well as for bottles and cans; Harvard University was a finalist in the overall "Gorilla Prize;" Westfield State College was a finalist in the "Gorilla Prize" for paper materials and Middlebury College was a finalist in the "Gorilla Prize" for food service organics.
The RecycleMania competition is a program of the RecycleMania Steering Committee in coordination with the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC). Program management for RecycleMania is provided by Keep America Beautiful in coordination with the U.S. EPA's WasteWise program. RecycleMania is made possible through the sponsorship support of The Coca Cola Company, American Forest & Paper Association and Keep America Beautiful.
Business, Industry, Trade or Professional Organizations
Greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty trucks grew almost 80% between 1990 and 2007, and freight trucks currently account for about 6% of all U.S. GHG emissions. Motor carrier fleets like Braun's face a huge challenge: how to get products to customers on demand and stay in business, using trucks that have become cleaner but less fuel-efficient due to regulations and that keep drivers comfortable without idling. Braun's answer was to join SmartWay at its 2004 inception, take full advantage of the strategies and technologies offered and share their successes to bring New England peers to a higher level of environmental professionalism. They have been innovative and resourceful in seeking, evaluating and adopting cutting-edge technology: testing fuel- saving equipment like Auxiliary Power Units (for cab comfort without idling), aerodynamic tractor and trailer features (for reduced wind drag) and single-wide tires with aluminum rims and automatic tire inflation devices (for reduced rolling resistance) on select trucks. In addition, they educated and evaluated their staff on fuel-efficient driving techniques, set engine controls to limit idling and speed and monitored truck performance using wireless real-time engine monitoring. Braun's was one of the first to invest in SmartWay-certified tractors, which package all these fuel-saving features on brand-new trucks.
Jonathan Rose Companies, LLC
Understanding the global energy demand for alternative energy solutions, Jonathan Rose Companies, LLC invested in and developed green real estate nationwide and has acted as a green urban solution provider to assist Connecticut's metropolitan and outlying regions to become independent of their reliance on traditional energy methods. The company's leadership in developing the green and affordable Metro Green Apartment building is an example of innovative green features for future property development to follow. Completed in 2009, Metro Green Apartments is an urban infill project, featuring 50 green housing units located on a formerly vacant brownfields site. The site plan encourages dense development while preserving green open space for both residents and the public. In addition, in 2009 Jonathan Rose served as planner for a team of national experts assembled by the EPA to engage residents, decision-makers and developers from Hartford and the surrounding region to develop strategies to create compact, mixed-use, mixed-income housing that provides residents with better access to jobs and services. The project represents the convergence of issues that are of critical importance to Connecticut's residents: better energy efficiency in homes, lower housing costs, and greater choices in transportation and less dependency on cars.
Phoenix Park, LLC
Phoenix Park is a 300,000 square foot refurbished 12-building office and industrial complex located in Shirley, Massachusetts. The original cotton mill was built by the Shirley Shakers in 1850 and later owned by Sampson Cordage Works and its predecessors, which manufactured rope for nearly 100 years. The buildings sat vacant for more than 10 years prior to its purchase by the current owner in December 1998. Restoration of the old mill has been a massive undertaking, which has contributed significantly to the local community. Located in close proximity to the commuter rail, Phoenix Park sits on a 56-acre campus and houses more than 50 businesses that serve the local community and beyond. The building restoration is ongoing and has undertaken several steps to "go green." To reduce energy consumption, Phoenix Park invested in energy efficient windows, energy efficient HVAC systems, energy efficient lighting, maximum roof insulation, low flow plumbing fixtures, and waste stream recycling. In 2009, the owner established a solar energy system and is in the process of installing 2,530 Evergreen 200 Watt Solar Panels and Solectria Renewables Photovoltaic Inverters that are expected to offset approximately 50% of the total electrical load.