For more than 20 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given out Environmental Quality Awards. It’s now seeking nominations for this year’s awards.
The nominees must be individual citizens, non-profit organizations, environmental or community groups, those in the field of environmental education, working in business and industry, from a federal, state, local or tribal government or agency, or from the press and media. Nominations are due by Feb. 22.
The awards go to individuals, businesses and organizations that have contributed significantly over the past year to improving the environment and protecting public health in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight federally recognized Indian Nations. Each state, territory or tribal group has its own set of awards.
“If they’ve done great things for the environment, they deserve recognition,” EPA spokesman Chris Sebastian said from his New York office.
He said that EPA hopes that the recognition that comes with the award inspires the winner to keep doing what they’ve been doing or inspires someone else to get involved in environmental issues.
EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck called the previous winners an inspiration to all. In 2010, the winners were the V.I. Network of Environmental Educators, St. Croix Environmental Association Director Paul Chakroff and Island Yacht Charters on St. Thomas.
Each winner will receive a plaque recognizing his or her environmental achievement at a ceremony in late April coinciding with Earth Day.
"What better way to mark the annual celebration of Earth Day than by honoring those organizations and individuals and I urge that you nominate people through EPA’s website,” Enck said.
To be selected, nominees must have significantly contributed to improving environmental quality during the prior year, demonstrated a high achievement level in the award category, created unique or location-specific benefits, produced results that are sustainable or reproducible, or increased public involvement in environmental action.
According to Sebastian, the winners are picked by EPA staff members.
Last year’s winners are not eligible.
Nomination applications are available at the EPA website.