ELMWOOD PARK, N.J., April 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Marcal® Small Steps® kicks off Earth Month today announcing the five green heroes selected as recipients of its inaugural Small Steps for Big Change Awards. These five eco-crusaders were selected from the many great nominations that we received because the small steps they have taken made an impact in their local communities, helped to improve the environment and inspired others to get involved. To continue their good work, they are receiving a total of $10,000 to be made as donations in their names to the environmental charities of their choosing.
"We set out to find everyday environmental heroes who embody Marcal® Small Steps®' philosophy that small changes can make a big impact, and were blown away by the inspiring nominations from across the country," said MJ Jolda, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Marcal Manufacturing, LLC. "By taking even the smallest of environmental steps in the right direction – like simply switching one roll of your bath tissue or paper towels to 100% recycled paper - we all have the potential to be environmental heroes."
About the Environmental Heroes:
Susan Lower – Clarksville, MD
Grand Prize Winner
Susan developed a creative and effective auditing programming which trained students to audit homes for its environmental efficiency. The program was developed to specifically help homeowners reduce their energy consumption, energy bills and their carbon footprint. The program was featured by the Maryland Association of Science Teachers and Susan presented the program at the National Science Teachers Association. Susan goes beyond the call of duty as an Advanced Placement Environmental Science and Biology teacher in Maryland. She is also a leader for environmental issues, as she sponsors and supports environmental programs for students at her school, including the Ecology Club, Environthon Team, and Student Energy Auditors.
Beyond the classroom, Susan educates others in the community as she has established county-wide discussion groups and educational gatherings surrounding topics such as climate change and personal carbon footprint.
As the grand prize winner, Susan has selected Chesapeake Climate Action Network to receive a $5,000 donation in her name.
Gayle Sigurdson – Lawrence, KS
First Place Winner
Gayle is the person responsible for expanding the recycling program at Babcock Place, low income housing for seniors in Kansas, which now recycles plastic and glass in addition to the basic newspaper and aluminum. Gayle educates residents on the importance of recycling and how to sort and prepare the materials. Gayle also sorts and transports the plastic and glass to a recycling facility herself.
As the first place winner, Gayle has selected Douglas County Housing Inc. to receive a $2,500 donation in her name. Douglas County Housing Inc. supports Babcock Place's recycling efforts.
Heather Johnston – Battle Ground, WA
Second Place Winner
Heather is an elementary teacher in Battle Ground, WA who encourages students to be resourceful and not wasteful. She enjoys buying numerous items for her class at garage sales in the summer. She finds anything from books, models, furnishings, to fun and funky prizes for the kids. She also teaches by example, as she recently furnished her new home with items found at local garage sales. Heather also does other small resourceful tasks each day, such as making her own clothing and knitting her own gifts.
As the second place winner, Heather has selected Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge to receive a $1,500 donation in her name.
Mary Talalay – Lutherville, MD
Third Place Winner
Mary is an eco-inspiration to her community members, friends and neighbors who look to her for advice on how to be greener. Mary believes it's the little tasks that add up to big changes. She has been composting for four years and composts every scrap of organic kitchen waste. For parties, Mary creates her own games from items she finds in the recycling bin, such as a mini-golf course out of cardboard, paper and pizza boxes. She also tends to a vegetable garden with her daughter and passes down lessons and her love of the Earth. Mary's six-year-old daughter even has her own Wetlands Reserve Program where she relocates worms near the street to soft, moist garden soil.
As the third place winner, Mary has selected Fort Garrison Elementary School to receive a $500 donation in her name. The donation will be used to plant more trees at the school.
Amanda Hearn – Vincent, OH
Fourth Place Winner
Amanda is a devoted mother of three who is focused on helping the environment, and teaching her children and others to do the same. Amanda created the blog The Eco-Friendly Family to educate and share her actions and eco-learnings. Amanda discusses on her blog how she takes green steps to make a difference. For example, she recycles and composts nearly all trash, uses cloth diapers, preserves her own produce and makes her own laundry soap.
As the fourth place winner, Amanda has selected Healthy Child, Healthy World to receive a $500 donation in her name.
Heroes and those who nominated them will also receive Marcal® Small Steps® 100% recycled paper products.
The winners were chosen by five judges who were identified by Marcal® Small Steps® as environmental heroes and who embodied the philosophy of the Small Steps for Big Change Awards: Jose Duarte from Boston, MA, owner of Taranta, a green restaurant focused on sustainability; Kathleen Margiotta from Morristown, NJ, who spearheaded Morristown's "Adopt a Spot" program where volunteers adopt a part of the community for a year; Jennifer Newman from South Orange, NJ, who started an organic garden at Our Lady of Sorrows elementary; Allison Shaewitz from Chicago, IL, blogger for ChicagoGreenGirl.com which offers easy and tangible ways to help the environment; and Peter Stetson from Coventry, RI, who, as a teacher at Coventry High School, organized the school's first paper and bottle recycling program.
360 Public Relations
SOURCE Marcal Manufacturing, LLC