A group of students from Fairview High School in Boulder, Colo. received the President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) yesterday at a ceremony attended by officials from the Environmental Protection Agency’s office in Denver. The students were recognized for founding the Net Zero Club in 2007 and taking extensive measures to make their high school more environmentally sustainable.
“The committed students of the Net Zero Club have not only reduced Fairview High’s carbon and waste footprint, they have raised environmental awareness and left a legacy of sustainable practices that will benefit future generations of students,” said Larry Grandison, EPA’s regional communications director.
The long-term environmental impacts the students have made at Fairview High are impressive. More than 150 student volunteers planted 59 trees in the schoolyard, which will absorb roughly 2,800 pounds of carbon every year. The students also made changes in waste management practices at Fairview, which now diverts about 260 cubic yards of waste from the landfill annually, through recycling, composting and waste reduction. Additionally, measures taken by students have eliminated nearly 900 pounds of junk mail a year.
The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. It is one of the most important ways EPA and the President demonstrate commitment to environmental stewardship efforts created and conducted by young people.
PEYA has been presented annually since 1971 to honor students in kindergarten through 12th grade who design and implement innovative environmental projects that protect our air, water, land, and ecology. Winning projects in the past have covered a wide range of subjects including recycling programs in schools and communities, construction of nature preserves, major tree planting programs and environmental science projects.
Each of EPA’s 10 regional offices selects winners from applicants in their regions. Regional EPA panels judged the projects on criteria including environmental need, long-term environmental benefits and positive impacts on local communities.