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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Honors Puerto Rico Environmental Champions

Contact Information: 
Jennifer May-Reddy (may.jennifer@epa.gov)

(New York, N.Y. – May 13, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today honored seven individuals and organizations from across Puerto Rico with Environmental Champion Awards for their achievements in protecting public health and the environment. EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck was joined by Murray Fisher, founder of the New York Harbor School, to present the awards to this year’s recipients at a ceremony at the EPA’s offices in Manhattan. The awards are presented annually.

“It is a privilege for EPA to be able to recognize the dedication and accomplishments of these environmental trailblazers,” said Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “These individuals and organizations from across New York are an inspiration, encouraging us to protect the environment every day.”

The Environmental Champion Award winners from Puerto Rico (in alphabetical order) are:

Carmen M. Reyes-Colón

Professor Carmen M. Reyes-Colón of the Pontifical Catholic University in Puerto Rico is the moderator of the Sociedad Estudiantil de Ciencias Ambientales, a group that serves as a liaison for environmental education among students and the scientific community. As part of her work, she leads a recycling program. Ms. Reyes-Colón established the Environmental Lecture Series, which has had more than 30 presenters, and is also Director of the Puerto Rican branch of the non-profit organization, Planeta Feliz, Inc.

Ciudadanos del Karso, Inc.

Ciudadanos del Karso, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Puerto Rico’s Karst, which is a type of landscape formed by soluble rocks including limestone. Karst regions contain aquifers that are capable of providing large amounts of drinking water. Ciudadanos del Karso, manages the Private Reserve Mata de Platano under an agreement with the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. This reserve contains one of the world’s most important caves and one of the world’s most endangered karst regions. Members of the non-profit co-authored a U.S. Department of Agriculture publication entitled “Puerto Rican Karst – a Vital Resource,” which educates the public about the importance of the karst region.

Enfoque Noticias 24/7

WIPR Channel 6 in San Juan, Puerto Rico established Enfoque Noticias, a news program that has in depth coverage of many important issues of the day. Enfoque Noticias has raised public awareness of critical environmental issues by covering such topics as Puerto Rico’s solid waste crisis, drinking water quality challenges and the impacts of climate change on the Island. 

Gerardo Alvarado León

Gerardo Alvarado León is a reporter for El Nuevo Día who covers the environment, infrastructure and social issues in Puerto Rico. In 2015, he reported on a number of important environmental issues in Puerto Rico, including the solid waste crisis and the possible closure of 20 of Puerto Rico’s 27 landfills, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s compliance with environmental regulations, the Puerto Rican drought, and the accumulation and improper disposal of used tires throughout the Commonwealth.

Huerto, Vivero, y Bosque Urbano de Capetillo

The Urban Nursery was an illegal landfill that has been developed into a community environmental education project where residents grow, harvest, and market organic crops grown with compost. Income from the crops goes directly to fund their program of supervised studies at the University and to provide stipends to youth for their hours of work in the garden. The Urban Nursery provides fresh and healthy food for the community and a safe environment for the kids to play, socialize, study and improve their quality of life.

Kasey Jacobs

Kasey Jacobs is an environmental scientist with domestic and international experience in communications, research, policy, program management, and facilitation regarding various environmental and social issues, principally coastal hazards. As a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow at the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, Kasey lead efforts in coordinating the Puerto Rico Coastal Adaptation Project, a first of its kind in Puerto Rico, which convened over 150 scientists, researchers, planners, architects, and practitioners into joining The Puerto Rico Climate Change Council.

Mariposario Tinerí

The Butterfly House is an organization that breeds, preserves and cares for different types of endangered butterflies in Puerto Rico. Students built a butterfly house and are responsible for its maintenance and for caring for the butterflies, which are the second largest pollinator in the world.  Project members also offer workshops to students and the community about the importance of butterflies, as well as gardening techniques and the importance of composting.

For more details, visit: www.epa.gov/aboutepa/environmental-champion-awards.

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