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April 22, 2010

Illinois EPA Presents Green Youth Awards on Earth Day for Environmental Achievements
Students from around state honored at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

SPRINGFIELD – The hard work and commitment of students and schools across Illinois to exhibit environmental leadership was recognized today at the Governor’s Green Youth Awards at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.  The awards, administered by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA), acknowledged outstanding environmental protection and conservation projects by Illinois’ young people.

“These projects demonstrate the innovative ways young people throughout the state are working to protect Illinois’ environment,” said Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott.  “Through these awards, we hope to teach other young people about the importance of environmental protection.”

The winners of the Governor’s Green Youth Awards were students who worked on environmental projects, either individually or as part of a group, for their achievements in waste reduction, energy efficiency and sustainability.  This year’s Green Youth Awards falls on the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, which began in 1970 as a day of national environmental recognition and is now celebrated annually around the globe.  2010 also marks the 40th Anniversary of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which was the first state environmental protection agency in the nation.

2010 award winners are:

Cornell Grade School, 4th Grade
“Threatened & Endangered Plant Project”
Cornell (Livingston Co.)

Beginning in October 2009, students have planned, researched and successfully implemented their project goal of repopulating their community with six species of threatened and endangered plants of Illinois.  The class allocated the needed resources, including the construction of a greenhouse.  With assistance from experts in the field of botany, they planted and propagated the plant species, laid the plans for an outdoor preservation area, and organized a community day with the intent of giving every household in town offspring from the selected species of plants to aid in the repopulation of each species.    

Lane Bennett
Village of Oakwood Recycling Effort”
Danville (Vermillion Co.)

When Lane Bennett learned of the elimination of Vermilion County Recycling, he took action by surveying teachers and students, forming a recycling committee at school, and asking to speak to the Oakwood Village Board in October 2009.  The Board told him to petition residents and Lane later presented his positive results.  To reach all residents, the mayor met with Lane to create a survey letter that was mailed in January 2010, and was featured as a story on illinoishomepage.net.  Responses have been more for recycling than against, and it is now up to the Board to decide how to proceed.

Stephen McCroary
“Salt Creek Clean-Up, Brookfield, IL”
(Cook Co.)

The area of Salt Creek under the Metra and Brookfield Avenue bridges was polluted and completely obstructed by debris.  The creek blockage was an eyesore, a danger to area wildlife, and contributed to flooding and damage to residential and business properties during the flooding of 2008.

Utilizing volunteers from his high school’s environmental science program, they removed all visible inorganic and much of the organic debris.  Two days later, workers from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District removed the large logs from the creek.  The result was a totally unobstructed waterway, removal of pollutants, and restoration of the creek’s natural habitat.

Johnny Cohen
“GreenShields Bus Project”
(Lake Co.)

GreenShields is working to improve the fuel efficiency of school buses by making them more aerodynamic.  The team is developing a “shield” to be placed on the front of the bus in order to reduce air resistance.  The team has completed a series of testing on models, with successful results.  The team will build a full-scale GreenShield and test in a wind tunnel and during outdoor road conditions using their $25,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project.  The goal is to have the local school districts use GreenShields on school buses.



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