President's Environmental Youth Award

Your project - or one you are sponsoring - could be an award winner. Apply or encourage a student you know to apply for PEYA and see what a difference they can make for the environment with an award-winning project. Applicants from all 50 states and U.S. territories are eligible to compete for a regional certificate of special recognition and a national Presidential award.

Applications are now being accepted for the PEYA program. Applications are due March 1, 2017.

History and Basic Information about the President's Environmental Youth Award

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation's natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people for protecting our nation's air, water, land, and ecology. It is one of the most important ways EPA and the Administration demonstrate commitment to environmental stewardship efforts created and conducted by our nation's youth.

Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Thousands of young people from all 50 states and the U.S. territories have submitted projects to EPA for consideration. Winning projects in the past have covered a wide range of subject areas, including:

  • restoring native habitats
  • recycling in schools and communities
  • construction of nature preserves
  • tree planting
  • installing renewable energy projects
  • creating videos, skits and newsletters that focused on environmental issues 
  • participating in many other creative sustainability efforts

Evaluation results consistently demonstrate that participation in the PEYA program is frequently a life-changing experience for many of the young people and their project sponsors.

How the Program Works

PEYA has two parts — a regional award for Grades K-5 and a regional award for Grades 6-12.

EPA has ten regional offices across the country. Based on the evaluation criteria, each regional office will be responsible for selecting up to two winners per region– one for Grades K-5 and one for Grades 6-12. Applicants are welcome to include youth across multiple grade levels; however, the application will be categorized based on the applicant with the highest grade level.  For example, if one applicant group consists of two 4th graders, one 3rd grader and one 6th grader, the application will be evaluated in the Grade 6-12 category.

Each award-winning project will receive a Presidential plaque. All qualified applicants will receive a certificate honoring them for their efforts to protect human health and the environment.

Eligibility

  • Project is completed while the applicant(s) is in kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • Applicant(s) is a citizen of the United States or its territories or has been lawfully admitted for permanent residency.
  • Project is sponsored by at least one adult over the age of 21.
  • Projects started on or after January 1, 2016 are eligible for consideration. As long as there was activity on the project after January 1, 2016, a project initiated prior to that date is eligible for consideration.

Application

  • Sponsor must sign and date page A-2 of the application.
  • Project must be summarized on the pages provided in the PEYA application form (no more than 300 words).

How to Apply for the National Award Program

Step 1: Review the Eligibility Criteria

  • Project is completed while the applicant(s) is in kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • Applicant(s) is a citizen of the United States or its territories or has been lawfully admitted for permanent residency.
  • Project is sponsored by at least one adult over the age of 21.
  • Projects started on or after January 1, 2016 are eligible for consideration. As long as there was activity on the project after January 1, 2016, a project initiated prior to that date is eligible for consideration.

Step 2: Complete an Application

  • Download the application.
  • A project summary of up to 300 words must be provided on the application form. Please note that applicants that are applying in the 6-12 grade level category must complete the project summary section themselves. Applicants in the K-5 grade level may be advised by the sponsor and sponsors may assist in the writing of the project summary. 
  • A more detailed description of the project, no more than five pages, and addressing each of the evaluation criterion should be attached to the application.
  • Applicants may submit up to five additional pages of photographs, newspaper articles, and other supporting materials to provide a more comprehensive view of the project. Accompanying videos must be web-based with functioning links (e.g., no CDs). 
  • Sponsors must sign and date page A-2 of the application. Sponsors will be notified of the application status in early May 2017.
  • All application materials must be received by March 1, 2017.

Step 3: Submit the Application

  • Applications can be submitted electronically (email) or by hard copy (U.S. mail or commercial delivery service).
  • All sponsors will receive a confirmation email upon receipt of the application package.
  • Email completed applications and supporting materials to peya@epa.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 1, 2017. Applicants are encouraged to combine application materials into as few attachments as possible. 
  • Hard copies must be delivered by 5:00 p.m. ET on March 1, 2017 to be eligible for consideration.
  • Mail completed application materials to:
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Office of Environmental Education
    Attn: President's Environmental Youth Award Program
    William Jefferson Clinton North, Room 1426
    1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, MC 1704-A
    Washington, DC 20460

Judging Criteria

Each application is evaluated by a regional awards panel. The panel members review and evaluate each application based on the criteria. There are separate evaluation criteria for K-5 and 6-12 applications. A maximum of 100 points can be awarded to a given application.

Evaluation criteria for PEYA applications from K-5th grade students
Evaluation Criteria Points

Youth Initiative: How did the applicant(s) come up with the idea for the project? To what extent does the applicant(s) take charge of the project?

20 points

Environmental Impact: How did the applicant(s) identify the environmental need for this project? How did the project positively affect the environment?

30 points

Completion of Goals: What were the goals of the project? How were they accomplished?

15 points

Community Involvement: To what extent did the project involve others in the school or community?

10 points

Project creativity: What creative approach(es) did the applicant(s) use for the project?

15 points

Project approach: To what extent does the application tell a complete story about the project? Did the applicant(s) have a thought-out approach to solving the problem?

10 points
Total 100 points
Evaluation criteria for PEYA applications from 6th-12th grade students
Evaluation Criteria Points

Youth Initiative:  To what extent was the project designed, coordinated and implemented due to applicant (s) initiative? How was the project created and completed by the applicant(s)? The driving force for the project must be the applicant(s), not the sponsor.

25 points

Environmental Need and Appropriateness: To what extent was there a clear environmental need for the project? How appropriate was the project for the community in which it was performed?

20 points

Environmental Impact: To what extent was there a need for this project? How did the project positively affect the community? Were there any long-term environmental benefits or outcomes of the project?

15 points

Completion of Goals: Were the goals accomplished? How were they accomplished?

15 points

Community Involvement: To what extent did the project positively involve others in the community? What community resources, expertise, leadership, or publicity did the applicant(s) use?

10 points

Project innovation: How did the applicant(s) use innovative approaches to achieve positive results?

10 points

Soundness of approach, rationale, and scientific design: Was the approach to the problem clear? Did the applicant(s) have a sound justification for choosing that approach? If so, what is that justification?

5 points
Total 100 points

Recognition of Winners

Each year, EPA gives a certificate of special recognition to each qualified applicant and a Presidential plaque to the national award winners.

Sponsors

Each applicant or group of applicants applying for PEYA must be represented by a sponsor. The sponsor must be an adult at least 21 years of age and may be a parent, teacher, youth group adviser, summer camp counselor, community leader, or other interested individual. The adult sponsor plays an important role in helping a young person or group of young people carry out a project and apply for PEYA. In signing the application, the sponsor confirms that he or she has parent or guardian consent for each applicant to participate in the PEYA program.

Typically, a sponsor offers suggestions and advice throughout the project to:

  • develop a well thought-out project;
  • implement the project;
  • work with other groups and individuals in the community;
  • complete the application form (for K-5 applicants); and
  • assist in preparing accompanying materials.

Questions about the role of a sponsor should be directed to peya@epa.gov.


Resources for Sponsors

Questions

Questions about the program should be sent to peya@epa.gov.