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Rhode Island Student to be Recognized for Innovative Environmental Projects

Release Date: 04/21/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: David Deegan, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1017,

For Immediate Release: April 21, 2005; Release # dd050406

BOSTON - An 11th grade student in Middletown, RI, was among 10 students from across the country honored today by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Megan Larcom, a student at Middletown High School, was among the students given a 2004 President's Environmental Youth Award at a ceremony today at the White House.

Students were honored for developing innovative projects that promote awareness and encourage people of all ages to protect their environment through community involvement. Larcom’s project, which she did as a 10th grader, focused on preservation of the environment through proper use of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources.

As part of her project, Larcom researched preservation of the environment and then created lesson plans for teaching 4th graders at Forest Avenue Elementary School. The lesson plans included interactive, hands-on activities that focused on renewable and nonrenewable resources, recycling, and the benefits of having a clean planet.

Larcom also led an activity in which these students planted a beech tree outside the school. Although only fourth graders planted the tree, the entire school benefitted from its beauty and environmental advantages.

The final element of Larcom's project involved promoting environmental awareness in her community. She arranged for 200 paper bags provided by a local supermarket chain to be decorated with environmental themes and messages by students throughout the school district. During the week of Earth Day, bags were given to supermarket customers.

“Students like these set an example for all of us, regardless of age, and remind us that each citizen can make a difference in preserving the environment for tomorrow,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “We applaud Megan’s efforts to teach others to protect and value their natural surroundings.”

Other projects across the country included: building nesting boxes on Staten Island; monitoring water quality in a local stream and educating the community to protect it; studying groundwater and organizing community events to teach others about the importance of ground water; and restoring habitat for the endangered Fender’s Blue Butterfly.

EPA's 10 regional offices selected the 2004 winners. The PEYA program has been presented annually since 1971 to honor students in kindergarten through 12th grade who develop projects that help protect local environments and promote local environmental awareness in their communities.

Each year, contestants submit applications along with summaries of their environmental projects to EPA's 10 regional offices. Regional panels judge projects on environmental need, accomplishment of goals, long-term environmental benefits and positive impact on local communities. The panels also consider project design, coordination, implementation, innovation and soundness of approach, and the students' effectiveness in presenting the projects.

More information on the program, as well as a listing of the 2004 award winners and their project descriptions, is available at:

Related Information:
President's Environmental Youth Award