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Armonk Schools Wins Environmental Award For Bluebird Habitat Project

Release Date: 04/21/1999
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(#99062) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Eleven middle school students from the Crittenden Middle School in Armonk, New York were honored today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their work to restore nesting habitat for Eastern Bluebirds in their area of New York. The youngsters received a President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) from EPA's Regional Administrator, Jeanne M. Fox, in a ceremony held today in New York City. The President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) program is designed to foster a sense of leadership in young people and encourage them to address environmental problems in their communities.

"The Eastern Bluebird is the New York State bird, yet its populations have declined dramatically because so much of its natural habitat has been destroyed due to development. These kids saw the problem and, rather than just accept the situation, they decided to do something about it," said Ms. Fox. "It's ‘can-do' attitudes like these that reap results and make our communities better places to live."

The students repaired and rebuilt more than 50 cavity-nesting boxes, which had been destroyed, made mounting poles and affixed information about a New York State law prohibiting destruction of nests to the boxes. The sites included IBM Headquarters, Canyon Golf Club, Meyer Preserve and all schools within the school district. The students sought the advice of experts, including a leading local naturalist, Tom Meyers, who gave the group guidance on how best to provide habitat for the bluebird and care for the nesting boxes.

As part of the project, the students then organized a program called Teaching Little Children (TLC) and successfully taught more than 650 Elementary School children and their teachers how to distinguish bluebirds from eight other birds by making flash cards, constructing a color-by-numbers book with a teachers manual and recording an audio tape of bird songs. The eleven students also taught the elementary school students and teachers how to monitor nesting activity in the boxes and contribute this data to Cornell's Lab of Ornithology and the New York State Audubon Sanctuary Flight Project.

The students perssuded the Town of North Castle to declare April 1st as "Bluebird Awareness Day." The students also sucessfully worked with New York Assemblywoman Naomi Matasow to have the New York State Legislature proclaim March 21st, the first day of spring, "Bluebird Awareness Day"state-wide.

Thanks to their tireless efforts, these students are now the proud co-parents of 64 baby birds, 17 of them bluebirds.

The students found a very unique way to fund their project. In addition to more traditional fund-raisers, they sold bookmarks made from laminated images from old T-shirt catalogs put out by an environmental T-shirt company called "Human-i-Tees."
The eleven award recipients are Christopher Fasano, Kathryn Antony, Lauren Colasacco, Jessica DiPietro, Emily Baneman, Julia DeSevo, Eric March, Remy Lapidus, Kari Rongo, Samantha Kesten and Ian Greenhaus. The group was sponsored by Ms. Christine Pecora.

For more information on how to apply for this awards program, visit EPA's Website at or call EPA Region 2's Communications Division at 212-637-3678. For educational environmental information geared toward young children, visit EPA's Kids Web at For educational environmental material designed for older children and high school students, visit For more information about the Eastern Bluebird, visit the New York State Bluebird Society website at

For more information contact:
Mary Helen Cervantes-Gross, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3673 FAX: 212-637-4445 E-Mail: