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EPA Presents Environmental Merit Awards to Two in Vermont

Release Date: 05/01/2002
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Boston Press Office 617-918-1014

BOSTON – Two individuals and organizations from Vermont were honored today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their contributions to the environment.

The Vermont winners were among 35 recipients from around New England that received Environmental Merit Awards at a ceremony at Faneuil Hall. The awards, given out since 1970, honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts to preserve the region's environment. This year's competition drew more than 90 nominations.

"These individuals, businesses, non-profits and government agencies, often with little fanfare, have invested huge amounts of their time to make the environment of New England's cleaner and safer for future generations. And for that I think we should all be grateful," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "The recipients we are honoring today are New England's environmental heroes."

Sydney Ann Millberry Izzo (posthumous award) – Quechee

A high-energy and multi-talented person, Sami Izzo dedicated her life to environmental concerns. She was a committed member of her community and served with distinction on many volunteer boards and commissions throughout the Greater Upper Valley in Vermont. Her best known contributions are in the areas of waste reduction and education. Izzo organized many of the Greater Upper Valley's first solid waste reduction projects including glossy paper and tire recycling drives, as well as a mercury reduction program for the community hospital. She ensured that local towns comply with the existing laws regarding waste reduction, recycling and hazardous waste collection and initiated the creation of a statewide professional development organization designed to promote integrated waste management. In addition to her efforts to inform older residents, she educated and entertained hundreds of Vermont children with her famous "Recycling Clown" routine. A devoted mother and community member, Izzo is remembered for her tireless dedication to environmental issues. She is an inspiration to us all.

Connecticut River Watershed Council

Nearly 50 years ago, the Connecticut River was described as the best landscaped sewer in the nations. Today, the river is largely cleaned up and restored – an environmental jewel to be appreciated and protected. At the center of this turnaround is the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC). Founded in 1952, the group has worked to promote restoration, conservation, and protection of the river and surrounding watershed. The council's record of achievement is founded on partnerships – when important issues arise, the council brings people together to address the challenges. In the mid-1980s, CRWC created the Connecticut River Watch program to monitor water quality using trained volunteers. More recently, the council has established a migratory fisheries restoration initiative to build fishways and remove dams to restore access to spawning habitats. For five decades the council has worked to resolve environmental challenges and protect New England's largest river ecosystem, the Connecticut River.

Also recognized for their work in Vermont were:

Trust for Public Land

Founded in 1972, the Boston-based Trust for Public Land has protected more than 1.4 million acres of land across the country, including 100,000 acres in New England. The trust is a non-profit group dedicated to preserving land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. For the trust, 2001 was an extraordinary year in New England with the protection of 26,000 acres and a new 171,000-acre project in northern New Hampshire. Recently, the Trust for Public Land celebrated its 200th project in the region. As a result of their dedication, thousands of acres of precious wildlife habitat across New England has been conserved. These beautiful lands will be enjoyed by many throughout the region.

The New England Chapter of the American Public Works Association

Spurred by EPA penalties against several town Department of Public Works (DPWs), the New England Chapter of the American Public Works Association took action in 2001. The group approached EPA New England to develop a self-audit program for DPWs in New England. DPW garages who performed self-audits, reported environmental violations, and corrected the violations would be given a low priority for inspections. Together with EPA, the Association has developed tip sheets and fact sheets for DPW directors, and held a series of workshops. More than 250 people attended the NEAPWA spring meeting last April to learn about the initiative. To date, more than 300 New England DPW garages have signed up for this voluntary program. NEAPWA is working with EPA New England to measure the environmental benefits of the program.