DALLAS – A student who founded an environmental group with over 200 members is among the national winners of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Presidential Environmental Youth Award (PEYA). Drew Buerger, a student from Austin, Texas, started the Casis Forest Club to encourage his peers to restore and protect a three-acre area behind his school.
“These students are the next generation of leaders in environmental stewardship,” said EPA regional administrator Ron Curry. “These awards recognize exceptional students doing exceptional things to combat climate change and increase sustainable practices.”
EPA recently recognized 18 teachers and 63 students from across the country for their outstanding contributions to environmental education and stewardship. These 2015 winners and honorable mentions for the annual PEYA and 2015/2016 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) were honored for their work at the White House. The event included remarks from Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator; Dr. John Holdren, President Obama’s Chief Senior Advisor; and John King, Secretary of Education.
The PEYA awards recognize outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth. Student projects featured activities such as creating a new eco-friendly fertilizer, restoring and conserving local habitats, promoting recycling and other waste reduction methods, analyzing the impact of solar panel installation, exploring a new water pollution mitigation method, and analyzing storm water flow and flood risk.
The PIAEE awards recognize innovative environmental educators who integrate environmental learning into their classrooms using hands-on, experiential approaches. Winning teachers led unique programs such as working with a local symphony orchestra to create music inspired by nature, raising horseshoe crabs, researching the impact of surface coal mining on salamander diversity, forming a job shadowing program, and starting an international collaboration with a school in Taiwan.
For details on the new PEYA winners, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/education/presidents-environmental-youth-award-peya-winners
For details on the new PIAEE winners, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/education/presidential-innovation-award-environmental-educators-piaee-winners