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News Releases from Region 01

Lincoln-Sudbury (Mass.) High Schoolers Recognized by President Obama and EPA

Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)

BOSTON - A group of students at Lincoln-Sudbury High in Sudbury, Mass. was recently awarded a "President's Environmental Youth Award," given jointly by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Students in the Environmental Club - Savannah Snell, Michael Bader, Brianna Bisson, Grace Chin, and Clara Cousins - were recognized for their work to bring awareness of climate change to the 1,600 students at their school, and to promote the use of reusable water bottles and recycling.

The club's efforts to reduce their school's plastic waste stream and help the communities learn how they could save money on home energy bills have reduced the carbon footprint in their community.

"New England's youth will be the ones to develop solutions to our environmental challenges," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "The project developed at Sudbury High taught these students and students around them that they have the power to make a difference in their own community and daily lives."

"As a youth climate activist, I am honored to have participated in the EPA's PEYA program," said Grace Chin, one of the students recognized. Student award winners were invited to a ceremony at the White House, where they got to meet other youth working on projects to address climate change. "The projects are inspiring and impactful, and they make a tangibly positive impact on the environment," Chin said. "This, to me, is the epitome of youth empowerment, and it shows that youth have the skills to think creatively and to work together to solve problems they care about."

Chin's teacher said that working with these students inspired her. "In a time when so much environmental news we hear is filled with doom and gloom, I was stirred by the action-oriented positive enthusiasm of the young PEYA winners," said Eleanor Burke, the high school teacher who sponsors the environmental club.

The group raised money to buy two purified water fountain refilling stations for the school, with the goal of decreasing and eliminating one-use plastic water bottles, and reducing overall plastic waste at the school. In a water taste test, the students found that water from fountains can taste just as good as water from one-use bottles, so long as the temperature of the water is held constant.

The club raised $750 by raffling off "green" baskets, then partnered with Next Step Living to do home energy audits. Each audit net $10 for the school, bringing in a total of more than $1,200.

Students in the environmental club let other students see the power of positive individual action for community change. By partnering with Next Step Living, the students helped local homes get efficiency assessments that led to homes using less energy.

The President's Environmental Youth Award program recognizes outstanding student leaders in environmental stewardship. In the White House ceremony, 60 students from nine states were honored for their contributions to environmental stewardship. At the same ceremony, 15 teachers were also recognized for outstanding efforts to implement environmental education in their schools and communities.

More information on the 2015 PEYA winners: www.epa.gov/education/presidents-environmental-youth-award-peya-winners.