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EPA selects Illinois youth for 2007 Presidential Environmental Youth Award; three runners-up also from Illinois

Release Date: 04/20/2007
Contact Information: Kären Thompson, (312) 353-8547,

No. 07-OPA64

CHICAGO (April 20, 2007) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has selected Tayler McGillis, a 12-year-old Boy Scout from Toluca, Ill., as the 2007 regional winner of the President's Environmental Youth Award. Winners from each of EPA's 10 regions were recognized at a ceremony Friday, April 20, at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Dubbed the "Tin Can Scout" by his local media, Tayler has become a one-person environmental movement since he started an aluminum recycling program in his community two years ago. More than 16,000 pounds of aluminum later, Tayler's efforts have raised more than $9,000 for local charities while sweeping area highways clean of discarded cans and area garages clear of junk aluminum.

"If there was a Tayler McGillis in every community, just think how much cleaner this country would be," said Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade.
"His project is impressive, as were all those who entered this year."

EPA also recognized three 2006 finalists, all from Illinois.

First runner-up:
Triple R Recycling Club of North School in Villa Park, Ill., was formed three years ago to reduce and reuse school waste by setting up recycling systems and educating students, staff, parents and the community about conserving natural resources. Students have collected, among other items, used crayons, cell phones, ink cartridges, gym shoes and batteries. Projects that have made a difference include waste-free lunches by reusing trays and silverware, energy conservation managers and recycling coordinators in classrooms, recycled-art fairs, paper-making workshops and worm hotels for composting.

Second runners-up:
Chicago City Day School adopted the one-mile Miami Woods stretch of the Chicago River in 2002 with the goals of maintaining and improving the habitat, interpreting data and developing stewardship for the site. Since that time, fourth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders have worked in the spring and fall of each year to clear, restore and monitor Miami Woods woodland, prairie and river habitats, bringing back a once-diverse ecosystem that had been neglected for years. The students have become advocates for the environment in general and the Chicago River in particular.

Boy Scouts of America Troop 92 from Antioch, Ill., has been building the wood duck population, devastated by urban sprawl, in the Chain O'Lakes region of northeastern Illinois for a quarter-century. Since 1980, Troop 92 has nurtured wood ducks by constructing, installing, monitoring and maintaining artificial nests in the 6,000-acre Chain O'Lakes State Park. The Scouts have become creative problem-solvers and today use global positioning technology to identify and locate the 50 nests scattered throughout the park.

The President's Environmental Youth Awards program is an annual national contest sponsored by EPA to honor creative environmental projects developed and implemented by elementary and high school students. These projects were chosen from entries submitted by students from throughout Region 5's six states, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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Call if you would like a photo of the winner. For more information on the President's Environmental Youth Awards go to