Ipswich, Mass. Students Honored by White House and EPA for Environmental Project
BOSTON – A group of students from Ipswich, Mass. were recognized today as awardees of the 2019 President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA). The program recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth. These students demonstrate the initiative, creativity, and applied problem-solving skills needed to tackle environmental problems and find sustainable solutions.
The Ipswich Green Team, composed of students from grades 6 through 12 from Massachusetts, had a vision to develop a partnership between Ipswich schools and the greater community that would enrich the lives of people through local agriculture. The effort, called "Generation Growers," brought older adults and community members of all abilities together with youth to create green space on a quarter-acre public fruit and vegetable garden.
"The Presidential Environmental Education Awards Ceremony is a day I look forward to each year because it is a time when we honor some of the best and brightest in environmental education and stewardship," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "Congratulations and thank you to all our winners for their dedication to protecting human health and the environment."
"I am very impressed by the initiative shown by these young people, who have demonstrated the positive difference that dedicated individuals can make to protect our environment and improve their community," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro. "The Ipswich Green Team members, and their teachers, have rightly earned the honor of this recognition."
The primary goals for the Ipswich Green Team were to increase community knowledge, exposure, and access to healthy food. They accomplished their goals by learning about and teaching every aspect of food production, including sustainable practices such as water barrel conservation and solar energy, concepts of pollination, and soil science for planting. With this initiative, the Ipswich Green Team increased community participation by encouraging people to go outside, working side by side, and harvesting and eating the fruits and vegetables that were planted and harvested together. The garden continues to be used as an educational resource for teachers and community groups to learn about food waste and production, pollination, climate change, water cycle, composting, and how to live and work together with the common goal of creating local, healthy food for their community.
These 2019 awardees of the annual President's Environmental Youth Awards were among 17 student projects nationwide honored for their efforts. Other student projects recognized come from states including California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and the Territory of Puerto Rico.
Established by the 1990 National Environmental Education Act, the PEYA program promotes local environmental awareness among our nation's youth and encourages positive community involvement. Each year the PEYA program honors environmental awareness projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups and youth organizations.
EPA environmental education info: https://www.epa.gov/education
EPA information on President's Environmental Youth Awards: https://www.epa.gov/education/presidents-environmental-youth-award