Nominations for the 2014 Environmental Quality Awards made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be accepted until Feb. 18.
Every year the EPA honors individuals, businesses and organizations that have contributed significantly during the previous year to improving the environment and protecting public health in the Virgin Islands, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and eight federally recognized Indian nations.
Winners will be honored at an awards ceremony in April. Each winner will be recognized for his or her environmental achievement at a ceremony during Earth Week.
"What better way to mark the annual celebration of Earth Day than by honoring those organizations, businesses and individuals whose work in communities has improved public health and preserved and restored the environment,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck said in a press release.
“The outstanding efforts of EPA Environmental Quality Award recipients are fostering an environmental ethic in corporate board rooms, city halls and neighborhoods across the country,” she said.
The awards recognize achievement in the following categories: individuals; business and industry; nonprofit organizations; environmental or community groups; environmental education; federal, state, local or tribal government or agency; as well as press and media.
Last year’s winners in the Virgin Islands were Harold Mark in the federal, state, local, or tribal category for his work in improving drinking water quality. He is the environmental manager of the Drinking Water Program at the Planning and Natural Resources Department.
Marcia Taylor received the award in the individual category for her volunteer work in reducing sediment in three bays across the territory by about 124 tons per year. She also coordinates Coastweeks on St. Croix in her job at the University of the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service.
V.I. Montessori School and International Academy received the award in the environmental education category for its leadership role in protecting the environment. Since 2008, the school has installed solar systems that have decreased its electric bill from $84,000 a year to $0. It has also established a student-run recycling program and made teaching about sustainable energy alternatives part of its curriculum.
For award criteria, more on prior winners and nomination instructions, visit EPA’s Environmental Quality Award webpage at http://www.epa.gov/region2/eqa.