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EPA HONORS OLASSEE DAVIS, CORAL WORLD

The Coral World Marine Park and Undersea Observatory on St. Thomas and St. Croix environmentalist Olassee Davis are the Virgin Islands' recipients of the Environmental Protection Agency's Year 2000 Environmental Quality Awards.
EPA Region 2 administator Jeanne M. Fox said, "Each year, we search for those who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to protecting and enhancing environmental quality in our region. The Environmental Quality Award is the highest recognition presented to the public by our office."
Region 2 consists of New York and New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Awards were made nationwide, local EPA official Jim Casey said.
According to Casey, Coral World was selected to receive the honor as a corporate entity "for the uniqueness of the projects conducted there and for the conservation in terms of energy and natural resources that the marine park has incorporated into the facility."
Coral World was badly damaged by Hurricane Marilyn in 1995 and did not reopen until three years later, under new ownership and extensively rebuilt.
Trudie Prior, company president and general manager, said, "Coral World is very proud to be among those selected for this special award." The owners' goal in rebuilding the facility, she said, "was to create an attraction for local and off-island visitors that entertains, educates and heightens awareness and appreciation" of both the beauty and the fragility of the local marine environment.
"If Coral World was going to encourage conservation of the environment," Prior added, "it was clear that we ourselves had to operate our enterprise in an environmentally sensitive manner. Furthermore, recycling wastewater and utilizing solar power and more energy-efficient conventional systems made good business sense by cutting costs."
Casey said that Davis is being recognized by the EPA as an individual "for his wonderful work in terms of enviromental conservation and education."
"It's an honor to receive an award from the federal government," Davis said. "I have gotten so many awards for the information and expertise I have provided, but I get them not for myself but for the people of the Virgin Islands."
Davis, an ecologist for the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service on St. Croix, said he has supplied information to EPA officials in recent times on such issues as the proposed Beal Aerospace-Camp Arawak land acquisition, local water quality and sewage problems, and concerns about byproducts from local industry. He is a regular contributor on his own behalf of columns and guest editorials to local newspapers.
He has been an advocate for environmental consciousness in the Virgin Islands "for more than 15 years — since I came back from school," Davis said. He feels his most important contributions are in his work with young people, such as conducting nature hikes, so that when they become adults, they will understand the need to protect and preserve the natural environment.
Most of the 2000 EPA Environmental Quality Awards, which consist of plaques, will be presented in Washington, D.C., on April 18. However, a special presentation will be made later for the recipients in the islands, Casey said.
According to Casey, this is the third year he's aware of that the awards — which are made to private enterprises, government entities, not-for-profit agencies and individuals — have been given in the Virgin Islands. Previous recipients, he said, were the St. Croix Environmental Association, the Reef Rangers, longtime St. Croix conservationist Susanna Ocasio, the territory's Division of Fish and Wildlife, and two individuals for their contributions to a composting program on St. Croix, Sherry Teitelman of the St. Croix Anti-Litter and Beautification Commission and Errol Chichester of the Agriculture Department. Chichester said that the 1999 plaques have not yet been presented and that he understands they will be given out at the same time as the 2000 awards.

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The Coral World Marine Park and Undersea Observatory on St. Thomas and St. Croix environmentalist Olassee Davis are the Virgin Islands' recipients of the Environmental Protection Agency's Year 2000 Environmental Quality Awards.
EPA Region 2 administator Jeanne M. Fox said, "Each year, we search for those who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to protecting and enhancing environmental quality in our region. The Environmental Quality Award is the highest recognition presented to the public by our office."
Region 2 consists of New York and New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Awards were made nationwide, local EPA official Jim Casey said.
According to Casey, Coral World was selected to receive the honor as a corporate entity "for the uniqueness of the projects conducted there and for the conservation in terms of energy and natural resources that the marine park has incorporated into the facility."
Coral World was badly damaged by Hurricane Marilyn in 1995 and did not reopen until three years later, under new ownership and extensively rebuilt.
Trudie Prior, company president and general manager, said, "Coral World is very proud to be among those selected for this special award." The owners' goal in rebuilding the facility, she said, "was to create an attraction for local and off-island visitors that entertains, educates and heightens awareness and appreciation" of both the beauty and the fragility of the local marine environment.
"If Coral World was going to encourage conservation of the environment," Prior added, "it was clear that we ourselves had to operate our enterprise in an environmentally sensitive manner. Furthermore, recycling wastewater and utilizing solar power and more energy-efficient conventional systems made good business sense by cutting costs."
Casey said that Davis is being recognized by the EPA as an individual "for his wonderful work in terms of enviromental conservation and education."
"It's an honor to receive an award from the federal government," Davis said. "I have gotten so many awards for the information and expertise I have provided, but I get them not for myself but for the people of the Virgin Islands."
Davis, an ecologist for the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service on St. Croix, said he has supplied information to EPA officials in recent times on such issues as the proposed Beal Aerospace-Camp Arawak land acquisition, local water quality and sewage problems, and concerns about byproducts from local industry. He is a regular contributor on his own behalf of columns and guest editorials to local newspapers.
He has been an advocate for environmental consciousness in the Virgin Islands "for more than 15 years -- since I came back from school," Davis said. He feels his most important contributions are in his work with young people, such as conducting nature hikes, so that when they become adults, they will understand the need to protect and preserve the natural environment.
Most of the 2000 EPA Environmental Quality Awards, which consist of plaques, will be presented in Washington, D.C., on April 18. However, a special presentation will be made later for the recipients in the islands, Casey said.
According to Casey, this is the third year he's aware of that the awards -- which are made to private enterprises, government entities, not-for-profit agencies and individuals -- have been given in the Virgin Islands. Previous recipients, he said, were the St. Croix Environmental Association, the Reef Rangers, longtime St. Croix conservationist Susanna Ocasio, the territory's Division of Fish and Wildlife, and two individuals for their contributions to a composting program on St. Croix, Sherry Teitelman of the St. Croix Anti-Litter and Beautification Commission and Errol Chichester of the Agriculture Department. Chichester said that the 1999 plaques have not yet been presented and that he understands they will be given out at the same time as the 2000 awards.