SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the winners of the 2004 Governor’s Green Youth Awards, recognizing students in Chicago, Carlyle, Pontiac and Waukegan for outstanding environmental protection and conservation projects.
“These young people are to be applauded not only for their excellent projects, but also for their leadership,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “They are setting great examples of environmental stewardship for their peers, communities and the rest of Illinois.”
“These projects demonstrate the creativity and innovation our young people bring to protecting Illinois’ environment,” said Renee Cipriano, Director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). “Through these awards, we hope to encourage youths to continue pursuing environmental projects now and in the future.”
Qualifying projects must be focused on one or more of the following categories: waste reduction; reduction of pollution in the air water or land; restoration or preservation of natural areas, and energy or water efficiency. Any person or group age 17 or younger, in kindergarten through 12th grade, enrolled in public, private or home school, and who participated in an environmental project begun no earlier than January 2002, was eligible to apply for recognition.
Winners for the 2004 Governor’s Green Youth Awards sponsored by the Illinois EPA are:
- Hyde Park Elementary School, Waukegan, Lake Michigan Junior Science Corps, Sponsored by Jean B. Schreiber. In the fall of the 2003, Ms. Elaine Asman’s the fifth grade students designed a project to better understand nearby ecosystems at Yeoman Creek and Lake Michigan. The students divided into small groups to independently study amphibians, reptiles, plants and butterflies.
- Pontiac Township High School, Ecology Billboard, Sponsored by Paul Ritter. Pairs of students developed billboards to increase awareness and show ways to help save some aspect of the environment. Billboards were graded on message, color, neatness, originality and ability to provoke thought. The group judged the billboards and the winner was displayed on Route 23 next to the Livingston County Landfill. Mr. Ritter’s ecology class won a Green Youth Award in 2002, for their storm sewer-stenciling project.
· Jerry Wang, Chicago, Killers in the Lake, Killers in the Lake, Sponsored by Jie Wang.
The project required samples of myriphyllum spicatum and water from Lake Michigan as well as five common household items – motor oil, steel, detergent, acidic liquids and alkaline liquids – to observe and test the effects of these household pollutants on the lake weeds over a three week period. Jerry won an Environmental Excellence Award, Outstanding Achievement Distinction, from the IEPA at the 2004 state science fair.
- Nicholas Pruitt, Carlyle, Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project, Reforestation
Tree ID and Education, Sponsored by Robin L. Pruitt. Nick planned and funded a reforestation and education project for his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project. He held a memory Tree Sale from November 15 – December 15, 2002 and convinced the Bond County Soil and Water Conservation District to sell the trees at a discount. A total of 171 trees were sold for $5.00 and $10.00. The price included the tree, fertilizer, a location marker and free planting.
In April, Nick solicited volunteers from his Breese Scout Troop 225 to help plant the trees. They learned to plant trees and kept to an ambitious schedule to finish the work in just one week. Nick and his mother sorted the trees and kept them moist until their planting date. Nick was able to purchase 52 trees as well as books for schools in Clinton and Bond counties.