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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Honors New York Environmental Champions

Contact Information: 
John Martin (martin.johnj@epa.gov)
Mary Mears (mears.mary@epa.gov)

Contact: John Martin, (212) 637-3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov; Mary Mears, (212) 637-3673, mears.mary@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y. - April 24, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has honored 25 individuals and organizations from across New York with Environmental Champion Awards for their achievements in protecting public health and the environment. EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck was joined by Donovan Richards, Chair of the New York City Council's Committee on Environmental Protection, to present the awards to this year's recipients at a ceremony at the EPA's offices in Manhattan. One New Yorker from Douglaston, NY also won an honor mention in the national President's Environmental Youth Award competition.

"The EPA is thrilled to honor the work of these environmental trailblazers," said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "These New Yorkers work tirelessly to protect human health and the environment, inspiring us all to strive for a more sustainable future."

The Environmental Champion Award winners from New York (in alphabetical order) are:

4th Bin
New York, New York
4th Bin is an electronic waste recycling company that ensures that its customers' e-waste is eliminated legally, safely and with minimal environmental impact. The company is e-Stewards certified, the highest standard in ethical e-waste recycling in the industry, and the only e-waste recycler in New York City with this distinction. In addition, 4th Bin is R2-certified by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International and was endorsed by the Natural Resources Defense Council. In 2013, the company collected and recycled three million pounds of electronic waste.

Susan Antenen
Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Pleasantville, New York
Jill Isenbarger
Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
Pocantico Hills, New York
Jill Isenbarger and Susan Antenen created a program last summer to have sheep from Stone Barns graze at Rockefeller State Park as a way of controlling invasive plant species and improving soil health, while gaining forage for the sheep. This example of innovative landscape management reduces the need to mow park grasslands, encourages soil and animal health, educates the public on cycles of ecology and helps farmers economically. The partnership between Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture and Rockefeller State Park Preserve plans to continue with goats this year.

Brooklyn Grange Farm
Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn Grange operates the world's largest rooftop soil farms, located in Brooklyn and Long Island City, growing over 50,000 pounds of organically-cultivated produce each year for farmers markets and restaurants throughout New York City. They also provide urban farming and green roof consulting and installation services worldwide, and partner with other organizations to promote healthy and strong local communities through urban environmental responsibility. They have also expanded beyond their mission to grow vegetables: they now keep egg-laying hens and have launched a commercial apiary, cultivating bees for honey.

Dred Scott Bird Sanctuary
New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
Bronx, New York
The Dred Scott Bird Sanctuary sits on 7.5 acres of parkland in the South Bronx. Since 1996 it has been home to migrating birds and is unique to the Bronx because it is dedicated to educating youth about the importance of neighborhood conservation in a hands-on learning environment. The Sanctuary has provided a residential stopover for migrating birds while promoting the education of youth in conserving green spaces in urban areas. It also offers art workshops, bird watching and education, photo and video shoots, and it hosts tree giveaways and annual harvest events.

Finger Lakes ReUse, Inc.
Ithaca, New York
Since 2008, Finger Lakes ReUse has transformed waste into opportunities by diverting reusable materials from landfills and providing community access to quality goods at affordable prices. Using its sales and services to support waste reduction, poverty relief and job skills training, it has developed a best-practices model that extracts value out of every donated item it receives to be leveraged in support of the local community, economy and environment. Its programs include: deconstruction, computer refurbishment, job skills training and community-based repair, providing the community with access to convenient and affordable sustainable materials management options.

Green City Force
Brooklyn, New York
Green City Force is an AmeriCorps program whose mission is to break the cycle of poverty, preparing urban young adults to succeed in their chosen careers by engaging them in service, training, academics and work experiences related to the clean energy economy. In doing so, GCF encourages them to lead socially and environmentally responsible lives. Green City Force works toward this vision through its city-wide Clean Energy Corps in New York City. The program engages young people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, inspires passion for sustainability and service, and stimulates the demand for green services.

Hastings-on-Hudson Conservation Commission
Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York
The Hastings-on-Hudson Conservation Commission helped the Village pass a ban on single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam containers and cups. The new law was passed in 2014 and recently went into effect. This law will help to reduce litter, protect ocean life, create greater environmental awareness, and encourage the use of reusable bags for all purchases. Local bans like these are a great example of environmental stewardship, and they can set an example for other communities to follow.

Kathryn Hattala
Hudson River Fisheries Unit
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New Paltz, New York
Kathy Hattala has been a fisheries scientist for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for nearly 30 years. In this role she has displayed an unwavering passion for managing the fish of the Hudson River. She is a tireless advocate for fish populations and has worked hard to keep scientific and ecologically sound approaches at the forefront of decision making. Many species of fish in the Hudson, including American shad and Atlantic sturgeon are better off today than they would have been without Kathy's involvement.

Alice Henly
Green Sports Alliance / National Resources Defense Council
New York, New York
Alice Henly is the author of the National Resources Defense Council's Greening Advisor for Collegiate Sports, a free online guide to greening collegiate athletics and recreation.
The Advisor helps colleges and universities interested in greening their sports facilities and operations. The guide provides comprehensive information about implementing environmental initiatives at collegiate athletic and recreation departments. It offers the first-ever compilation of collegiate sports greening resources in one place and showcases a wide variety of success stories, including case studies. The Green Sports Alliance is a non-profit that helps sports teams, venues and leagues enhance their environmental performance. Members represent over 260 sports teams and venues from 20 different sports leagues.

Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Sustainable Shorelines Project
Staatsburg, New York
In light of potential climate change impacts such as sea level rise and increased storm intensity, riverfront decision makers, including property owners and public agency regulators, are making decisions about shoreline stabilization that could impact the health and future of vital near-shore habitats. Throughout 2014, utilizing tools and initiatives created in partnership with natural and social scientists, engineers, natural resource managers, communications specialists and consensus building specialists, the Sustainable Shorelines Project staff generated and made available to policy makers the latest in scientific information in an online database of best shoreline management options for preserving important natural functions with the Hudson River Estuary's shore zone.

Fred Huneke
Watershed Agricultural Council
Walton, New York
As Fred Huneke retires from the Watershed Agricultural Council Board of Directors Chair position, he is recognized for his many years of service and commitment to the New York City watershed agricultural community and for being an excellent partner to the wider group of watershed stakeholders who, collectively, have built a strong ethic of conservation into the fabric of the watershed communities, thereby helping to protect the drinking water for more than nine million New Yorkers.

Jennifer Kretser
The Wild Center
Tupper Lake, New York

As Director of Programs for the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, New York, Jennifer Kretser oversees all education program development and interpretive programs, including the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit. Each year the Summit brings together more than 200 high school and college students, along with teachers and administrators, for two days of leadership development and climate science education. Over time the Summit has engaged more than 1,500 students and resulted in the creation of at least 40 "green teams" that are advancing sustainability within their New York schools.

Fran Martino
Ghent, New York
Fran Martino is an environmental educator who uses citizen science and outdoor exploration to connect people to their local watershed. She operates River Haggie Outdoors, a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise located in Columbia County, New York, and also serves as the education and outreach coordinator for the Greater Stockport Creek Watershed Alliance whose mission is to explore, understand, and protect the watershed ecosystem through community involvement and stewardship. Fran spearheaded the Alliance's "Stream Spotter" program to train community volunteers to monitor water quality throughout the watershed.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Materials Management
"Advancing Green Chemistry in New York State High Schools"
Albany, New York

The NYSDEC has worked hard to influence behavior change in New York State high schools in terms of better management of chemicals and implementation of green chemistry. The agency has demonstrated the unique ability to build coalitions and achieve measurable results that reduce pollution and encourage inspirational learning in the classroom. Green chemistry candidate schools have been selected throughout New York State. The NYSDEC has managed to create a sustainable program that reduces chemicals in the classroom, encourages student engagement, teacher capacity building and encourages multiple partnerships.

Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps
Syracuse, New York
The Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps is a volunteer organization that develops environmental stewards in Central New York. The Corps has raised awareness of Onondaga Lake as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and promotes the importance of stewardship through citizen science monitoring and involvement in wetland restoration projects. The 500 volunteers have planted more than 4,500 native plants, trees, and shrubs at wetlands adjacent to Nine Mile Creek, Geddes Brook and Harbor Brook, and along Onondaga Lake's western shoreline. The organization's work has contributed to improving 37 acres of wetlands that are home to 313,000 native plants and more than 110 species of fish, birds, and mammals.

Operation SPLASH
Freeport, New York
Founded in 1990, SPLASH (Stop Polluting, Littering and Save Harbors) today boasts seven chapters in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. This exclusively volunteer organization operates six workboats which patrol the South Shore, Long Island waterways to remove debris, and monitor and identify pollutants as well as their sources. Since its inception, SPLASH volunteers have removed more than 1.5 million pounds of debris from the waterways. Last year, the group produced a "Guide for Smart Boaters" to educate boaters on safe cleaning, painting, and bilge and blackwater disposal.

Peconic Land Trust
Southampton, New York
Founded in 1983, the Peconic Land Trust conserves Long Island's working farms, natural lands and heritage. The Trust has worked with landowners, communities, partner organizations, and all levels of government to conserve over 11,000 acres of farmland, wetlands, woodlands, meadows, and shorelines. The Trust also provides educational programs that connect the public to the land, and launches a wide variety of initiatives that promote clean water and sustainable agriculture. Over the years these initiatives have encouraged young farmers by making farmland more affordable, reintroduced shellfish into the Peconic Bay Estuary, and provided much needed resiliency from future weather incidents, among many others.

"Re-Clothe NY"
New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling
Selkirk, New York
Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association
Council for Textile Recycling
Abingdon, Maryland
The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling, the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association and the Council for Textile Recycling partnered to launch a first-of-its-kind statewide public campaign, "Re-Clothe NY," focused on clothing and textile reuse and recycling on America Recycles Day, November 15, 2014. The campaign has already met with success by significantly increasing public awareness through over 150 media placements in November 2014 alone, and by collecting over 100,000 pounds of textiles in the wake of the program launch.

Michael Reichel
Riverhead Sewer District
Riverhead, New York
Mike Reichel, Superintendent of the Riverhead Sewer District, has been a tremendous supporter of the efforts of the Peconic Estuary Program. He oversaw a major upgrade of the Riverhead wastewater treatment plant that included state-of-the-art nitrogen removal and employed a disinfection process that did not use chlorine. Recently, he initiated an innovative effort pursuing beneficial re-use of sewage treatment plant effluent as irrigation water for a golf course. This beneficial re-use project is currently underway and will not only reduce groundwater withdrawals for irrigation, but reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizers needed on the golf course.

Rockland Water Coalition
Pearl River, New York
The Rockland Water Coalition led the opposition to a desalination plant proposed for the Hudson River's Haverstraw Bay, after determining that the plant would have major impacts on the environment and endangered species, public health and drinking water safety. After a successful outreach campaign, the coalition's actions caused the New York State Public Service Commission to reject construction of the plant. The Rockland County Task Force on Water Resources Management was forged from this victory with the goal of ensuring a safe, long-term water supply that incorporates sustainability, demand-side principles and conservation.

Gene Russianoff
New York Public Interest Research Group
Straphangers Campaign
New York, New York
Gene Russianoff is staff attorney and chief spokesman for the Straphangers Campaign, a public transport advocacy group that focuses primarily on subway and bus services run by New York City Transit, and which is part of the New York Public Interest Research Group. His work with the Straphangers Campaign includes engaging the public in transit options, working with city government to offer unlimited ride fare cards, and working to increase the efficiency of trains and buses. These improvements are beneficial for riders' costs and increase the overall ridership of mass transit, therefore greatly benefiting the environment as well.

Dr. Perry Sheffield
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
New York, New York
Dr. Sheffield is Deputy Director of the Region 2 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) based at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. The PEHSU provides information to health professionals, government agencies, and the public on children's environmental health issues. In addition to her work on the health effects of climate change, she was the primary author of the "Health Impact Assessments for Environmental Restoration: The Case of Cao Martn Pea," published last year. She conducts qualitative and quantitative research on the health impacts of climate change and public understanding of these issues with a focus on children.

University at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York
More than a third of University at Buffalo's 30,000 students attend the 330 sustainability courses it offers. The university is ranked one of the top 50 green colleges and universities in the nation and is working towards becoming climate neutral by 2030. The University recently launched RENEW (Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water), an interdisciplinary research institute established to address today's most complex environmental issues. The campus also features five new LEED Gold buildings and a 3,200-panel photovoltaic structure called the Solar Strand which prevents 400 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually.

The Upper Susquehanna Coalition
Wetland Program
Owego, New York
Over the past five years, The Upper Susquehanna Coalition has constructed or restored more than 700 acres of wetlands and wetland-related habitat in the Upper Susquehanna River watershed. These wetlands help New York reduce nutrient sediment loads to the Chesapeake Bay. The Coalition has been designated by the New York State Department for Environmental Conservation as the official wetland data manager for the Chesapeake Bay Program and is responsible for the wetland goals of the state in its Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy.



Eliot Seol
"P.U.R.E. Project"
Douglaston, New York
Eliot is a fourth-grader from Queens, whose hard work is the inspiration behind the introduction of a new bill in the state senate that establishes a product stewardship program for primary batteries, sponsored by State Senator Tony Avella. Eliot is a blogger and environmentalist. His battery recycling crusade has earned him acclaim, not only from Senator Avella, but also EPA and the White House. He has also encouraged his school to start composting and to replace Styrofoam food trays with biodegradable trays.

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