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Green Youth Awards

Green Youth Award Recipients


On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Doug Scott recognized eight winners of the 2006 Governor’s Green Youth Awards at a ceremony-taking place today at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The ceremony recognized outstanding environmental protection and conservation projects by Illinois’ young people.

“These young people are to be commended not just for their excellent work in these projects, but also for their leadership and initiative” said Governor Blagojevich. “Their environmental stewardship sets a wonderful example for their peers, communities, and Illinois as a whole.”

The winners of the fourth Governor’s Green Youth Awards were students who worked on environmental projects either individually or as part of a group. After completing their projects, winners were required to fill out the online application, which was later evaluated by a panel of IEPA judges. This year’s winners will receive a plaque and individual admission tickets to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

“These projects demonstrate the innovative ways in which our young people are working to protect Illinois’ environment,” said Director Doug Scott. “Through these awards, we hope to teach other young people about the importance of environmental protection.”

Winners for the 2006 Governor’s Green Youth Awards sponsored by the Illinois EPA are:

Tayler McGillis – Toluca

Collecting for a Cause

Tayler took recycling to a new level when he combined his desire for helping the environment and helping his community. He collected aluminum through both conventional and unconventional means such as: taking down garage doors, pools, and removing siding from homes. The proceeds were donated to Habitat for Humanity in Marshall County. Tayler has been honored with several awards, including the William T. Hornaday Badge for distinguished service in natural resource conservation.

Matthew Bauer – Schaumburg

West Branch of the DuPage River Survey Rockford

Matt worked with the Schaumburg Engineering Department in an effort to aid the department in planning future river improvements. He organized 40 volunteers who walked a section of the river’s west branch recording observations on information sheets Matt designed. Volunteers took pictures of outflows and river blockages, reported wildlife present, and filled twenty 50-gallon garbage bags. On a second weekend, volunteer’s stenciled 137 storm sewers with “No Dumping” signs, to make citizens aware before dumping materials down the drain. Matt received his Eagle Scout Rank and a special William T. Hornaday Badge for his work.

Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School Science & Service Clubs – Oak Park

Worm Composting

Students reduced their school’s waste output level by putting recycling containers in the lunchroom and collecting food waste to use in a school-wide worm-composting program. Students kept a daily log of how much waste was collected along with the growth of the worms and the amount of castings created. Some students also acted as “worm ambassadors,” who are available to help other Oak Park schools interested in starting similar projects. Keep Oak Park Beautiful provided funding for the project through a Keep Illinois Beautiful grant from the Illinois EPA.

Gallistel Language Academy Branch Environmental Club – Chicago

“What is in the dust outside our windows?”

When students in the club learned of a unique study of dust on Chicago’s south side, they joined the project, partnering with the Southeast Environmental Task Force, Chicago State University, Carmeuse Lime Company, and the Field Museum. As full participants in the study, the students learned about particulate matter and fugitive dust, collected dust samples from different areas of the school building, monitored wind conditions via a (weblinked) weather monitor atop the Carmeuse factory, and analyzed the content of the collected dust – all with the goal of determining the sources of the dust so that they can encourage measures to control it. In the end, they want to protect their own health and the health of their families and friends.

Pontiac Township High School – Pontiac

Pontiac Crayon Recycling Program

To reduce and reuse crayons, students designed recycling containers made from used 5-gallon buckets and distributed them to grade schools. Once the buckets were full, students put the crayons in a reused box and delivered them to their sponsor. The crayons were then sent to the manufacturer, who melted them down to make new crayons. For every pound of crayons collected, the schools receive a set of crayons made from recycled stubs and broken crayons. Mr. Ritter’s ecology class won a Green Youth Award in 2002 for storm sewer stenciling and in 2004 for their Ecology Billboard project.

North School Triple R Recycling Club –Villa Park

North School Learns about the Three Rs

As part of District 45’s effort to become waste-free, students in the Club installed recycling bins in each classroom, moved from Styrofoam lunch trays and plastic silverware to recyclable plastic trays and real silverware, created an Energy Manager for each classroom, turned off computers, overheads, and monitors at the end of the day, turned off the lights in school vending machines, made copies double-sided, and started vermicomposting. They have also collected used greeting cards, ink cartridges, gym shoes, batteries, crayons and milk containers. Each year students hold a Recycled Art Fair in honor of Earth Day.

Woodstock High School Green Club – Woodstock

Green School Project

Students created three prairie plots at the high school to decrease the school’s use of water by planting water efficient plants. They are also working to restore 25 acres of forest and wetland in addition to constructing a walking trail for citizens to enjoy the forest. Students did a waste audit, had a waste free day, and handed out reusable lunch bags. They worked with the district to purchase 30% post recycled paper, and helped institute a double-sided copying policy district wide, had all vending machine lights turned off to reduce energy, developed an energy policy for all classrooms, instituted a rechargeable battery program for students and staff, educated the community on CFL light bulbs, and participated in a well-head protection program with the city. Woodstock High School received an Illinois EPA Green Schools grant that helped pay for some of the green projects. They have received other awards, including the Friend of the Earth Award from the McHenry County Schools’ Environmental Education Program.

Tyler Velling – Metamora

Recycling 2006 Science Fair

What began as Tyler’s Science Fair project, to determine the amount of waste being generated by his school, grew into a school-wide recycling program. After finding a recycler that would donate services to the school, Tyler arranged a weekly pick-up schedule that now includes cardboard, newspapers, used books, and plastics. Tyler researched and found the Illinois Zero Waste Schools Grant Program for which the administration could apply in order to institute a school-wide recycling program. Tyler received an Outstanding Award at the St. Mary’s School Science Fair and will go on to participate in the Science Fair Regionals.

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