With the New Year comes a request from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for nominations for the agency’s annual Environmental Quality Award. Each year, EPA’s Region 2 honors individuals, businesses, and organizations that have contributed significantly 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 over the past year.
Winners will be honored at an awards event in April 2012 to coincide with Earth Day.
"What better way to mark the annual celebration of Earth Day than by honoring those organizations and individuals whose work has preserved and restored the environment and improved public health,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck said in a press release issued Tuesday. “The achievements and dedication of each year’s Environmental Quality Award winners are an inspiration to us all.”
Nominees must have significantly contributed to improving the environmental quality of the Virgin Islands, 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.
Each winner will receive a plaque recognizing his or her environmental achievement at a ceremony during Earth Week.
The awards recognize achievement in six categories – business and industry; individual citizen; non-profit organization; environmental or community group; environmental education; federal, state, local or tribal government or agency – as well as other awards in press and media.
Last year, Audrey Penn, who is the Friends of V.I. National Park program manager, won for her work in environmental education.
St. John Recycling received the award for starting the island’s recycling program.
St. Croix’s Ridge to Reef program is an agri-tourism enterprise that the EPA said has made great advancements with regard to sustainable local food production.
The Corpus Christi, Texas-based Gulf of Mexico Foundation received an award for its work in habitat conservation, restoration, and protection in the Virgin Islands.
Nominations are due by Feb. 21. For additional information and instructions, visit EPA’s Environmental Quality Award webpage at http://www.epa.gov/region2/eqa.