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News Releases from Region 08

EPA presents President’s Environmental Youth Award to Leadville (Colo.) students

Regional Administrator Shaun McGrath recognizes fourth grade “Styrofoam Stoppers” for environmental leadership

Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)

DENVER – In celebration of the 46th Earth Day, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Shaun McGrath visited Leadville, Colo. on Friday, April 22 to present the President’s Environmental Youth Award to a group of fourth grade students at an assembly at Lake County Intermediate School.  

The students are being recognized for initiating a program, the Styrofoam Stoppers, to eliminate the use of Styrofoam in food service across the Lake County school district.  Styrofoam, also called polystyrene, requires large amounts of energy, oil and toxic chemicals to produce and poses significant challenges when used and disposed as waste. Polystyrene does not break down in the environment, takes up large volumes of space in landfills, and can harm pets and wildlife.

The Styrofoam Stoppers worked closely with the Lake County School District and a local nonprofit, the Cloud City Conservation Center, to secure funds for environmentally friendly options to replace the harmful polystyrene, including reusable plates and cups.  And while those replacements required some initial funding, they will save Lake County more than $2,000 each year. 

“This special group of fourth graders reflects the best of the environmental and community leadership happening in Leadville and Lake County,” said McGrath.  “It’s one thing to raise awareness, but it’s quite another to work to change policies and practices and make a real difference in preventing pollution. The Styrofoam Stoppers are an inspiring example of what’s possible when young students follow through on an idea.”

“The Styrofoam Stoppers represent everything we want our students to be: inspired, courageous and able impact the world beyond themselves. Their advocacy has created real change in our district and serves as a model for both kids and adults. We are incredibly proud of them and their accomplishment,” said Dr. Wendy Wyman, Superintendent of the Lake County School District.

Following the award presentation, McGrath also visited with students and learned about the school’s successful composting program, supported in part with EPA environmental education grant funds.  EPA continues to partner with various organizations in Leadville and Lake County to support environmental and resource conservation projects. 

For more on PEYA, visit: https://www.epa.gov/education/presidents-environmental-youth-award