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News Releases from Region 09

MEDIA ADVISORY: U.S. EPA honors Yosemite High School Teacher with Environmental Education Award

Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (calvino.maria@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO — On Thursday, September 22, U.S. EPA will join Yosemite High School to recognize Jeff Rivero with the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. The national award is presented each year to innovative environmental educators who integrate environmental learning into their classrooms using hands-on, experiential approaches. 

Mr. Rivero has been an educator at Yosemite High School for 21 years, and teaches Current Events and U.S. History. He has combined environmental education with his curriculum to teach students about policies, behaviors, and decisions involving both economics and natural resources. He also runs an after-school program called the Dragon Academy, which offers opportunities in composting and recycling, gardening, worm farming, social justice, and community service projects, including a partnership with GRID Alternatives to install low- to no-cost solar electricity systems.

Mr. Rivero’s award is accompanied by $2,500 to further professional training, and Yosemite High School will receive an additional $2,500 to support its environmental education program

WHAT:        Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators Ceremony. The ceremony will include the presentation of the PIAEE plaque, a salute to past and present staff members and past students who have worked alongside Mr. Rivero.

WHEN:      Thursday, September 22, 2016.
                 Award ceremony will start at 2:15 p.m. Press should arrive by 2:00 p.m. to set up.

WHERE:    East Campus Educational Center, Yosemite High School - 1900 G St., Merced, Calif. 

WHO:        Jeff Rivero, Yosemite High School, Current Events and U.S. History Teacher
                 Kathy Taylor, U.S. EPA Region 9, Assistant Director for the Land Division

MEDIA:     Following event, officials will be available for interviews and b-roll/video/photo opportunities.

RSVP:      Credentialed press who would like to attend and/or request additional details should e-mail calvino.maria@epa.gov. Please include your name,                   media affiliation, and contact information in your request.

Jeff Rivero, Yosemite High School - Merced, California

Jeff Rivero is a U.S. History and Current Events teacher at Yosemite High School who has combined environmental education with his curriculum to teach students about policies, behaviors, and decisions involving both economics and natural resources. He teaches 88 current events lessons, covering topics such as energy use, fuel resources, renewable energy, climate change, pollution, waste water treatment, and overpopulation. Examples of his students’ projects include creating a campus policy to conserve water, researching plastic bags made from protein, and advocating for drought-resistant landscaping on part of the school campus. His students explore their own areas of interest, and through an after-school program called the Dragon Academy, Jeff offers after-school opportunities in worm farming, composting and recycling, gardening, social justice, and community service projects. These community service projects include volunteering to install low- to no-cost solar electricity systems through a partnership with GRID Alternatives. Jeff ensures that his students improve their environmental literacy by taking them outside of the classroom. He has taken his students to Yosemite National Park; Santa Cruz, CA; and Monterey Bay’s Aquarium to teach lessons on ocean life, the effects of plastic on sea life, and natural resource exploitation. Jeff has also taken his students to speak with government staff about environmental policies such as solar power. He attends conferences and summits throughout the year to integrate the newest information into his classroom.

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