EPA Selects Michigan Youth for Presidential Environmental Youth Award

Apr 20, 2006, 01:00 ET from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5

    CHICAGO, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Kacy Hermans of Midland, Mich., has
 been selected by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 as regional
 winner of the President's Environmental Youth Award. Winners from each of
 EPA's 10 regions will be recognized today at a ceremony in Washington D.C.
     For the first time in Region 5 history, the winner, first and second
 runners- up in the contest are all from the same state, Michigan.
     Searching for ideas for a 4-H project, 18-year-old Kacy discovered the
 Chippewa Nature Center in Midland where her rain garden project has
 blossomed into the centerpiece of the nature center's environmental
 education program. She marshaled local donations of money, labor, equipment
 and supplies to turn a 20- by 10-foot plot of dirt into a stunning rain
 garden, planted with Michigan wildflowers and plants, that cools runoff,
 filters pollutants and percolates water into the ground.
     "Kacy's project shows that anyone can make a difference when it comes
 to protecting the environment," said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat
 Mathur. "We received many outstanding entries and I commend all
 participants for their efforts as our future environmental leaders."
     EPA also recognized these finalists:
     First runner-up: Andrew McNiel's project to replant a portion of the
 banks along the Rouge River in Livonia, Mich., was not only recognized by
 EPA but also boosted him to Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts. Andrew
 planted more than 500 donated native shrubs, grasses and wildflowers along
 the natural drainage area in Rotary Park to restore natural habitat for
     Second runner-up: The Water Warriors, two dozen students from Ogemaw
 Heights High School in West Branch, Mich., initiated weekly testing of the
 waters of the two main forks of the Rifle River in Ogemaw County
 establishing for the first time criteria to identify future changes in the
 river's health. Started on Earth Day 2004, the project has brought "science
 to life" for many students. They have shared their work with community
 groups, local media, other schools and environmental scientists.
     The President's Environmental Youth Awards program is a national
 contest sponsored annually by EPA to honor creative environmental projects
 developed and carried out by elementary and high school students. Today's
 awards recognized projects completed during the 2005 school year. The
 deadline for 2006 entries is Oct. 31. Find more information on the awards
 program at http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/awards.html .

SOURCE U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5