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Green Youth Awards

Green Youth Award Recipients

2009

The hard work and commitment of students and schools across Illinois to exhibit environmental leadership was recognized Wednesday, April 22 at the Governor’s green Youth Awards at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. The awards, administered by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged outstanding environmental protection and conservation projects by Illinois’ young people.

Winners for the 2009 Green Youth Awards are:

Photo: Award presentation

Paul Ritter, Pontiac Township High School

“Operation Power Down & the Dry Cell Battery Recycling Program”

Pontiac (Livingston Co.)

This is Mr. Ritter’s 5th Green Youth Award, winning in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. The Dry Cell Battery Disposal Program is a collaborative effort between local businesses, officials and Pontiac Township High School students in Mr. Ritter’s Earth Science Classes. The purpose is to educate the public about the harm done to the environment due and to provide them with an alternative disposal method.

Operation Power Down is a joint effort between the teachers and students at Pontiac Township High School. The goal is to eliminate phantom loads from wasting non-essential energy, once completed the students reached out to the public to educate them on saving energy. The efforts of the entire school netted a savings of almost $1000 over a four day weekend that otherwise would have been wasted energy. The student’s next challenge is to increase that savings to $5000 over the 10 days of spring break.

Photo: Award presentation

Da Vinci Academy Winter Town Council

“Air for the Environment”

Elgin (Cook & Kane Co.)

The students on the town council asked the question, “What can the student body do to help the environment?” The project they chose was “Air for the Environment” which measured the tire pressure of Da Vinci Academy cars and adjusted the pressure if needed to match the recommended tire pressure. The students filled out a card with the recommended, measured, and final tire pressure for approximately 65 cars, 1/4 of which they changed or recommended change to the tire pressure. This project helped to increase the gas mileage of the cars, extend the life span of the tires and reduced vehicle emissions, making the environment cleaner and greener.

Photo: Award presentation

Maggie O’Brien, Dana Gattone & Angel Loizzo

“Recycle…Because You Care”

Addison (DuPage Co.)

The girls wanted to figure out why their neighbors were not recycling. Was it that they didn’t know about recycling? Did they know how to get a recycling bin? Was the $6 per bin too much? Did they understand that the rules of recycling had changed and how much easier it is to do now compared to the past? The girls tested 6 blocks in their neighborhood with different methods to determine the impact of each, and to determine the best way to get more people to recycle.

The 6 methods tested and increased recycling results:

  1. Control block – no activity – 0%
  2. Dropped off flyer – no personal contact, explained recycling program and how to get a bin. – 17%
  3. Personal explanation with flyer – the girls talked to each neighbor to explain the program and encourage them to begin recycling. – 38%
  4. Sold bins – when approaching these neighbors the girls actually had the bins with them and sold them for the standard $6. – 63%
  5. Free bin drop-off – no personal contact, they left a free bin with flyer and some informational bookmarks on each neighbors step. – 85%
  6. Personal contact with free bin – the girls talked to each of these neighbors, explained the program and offered a free recycling bin. – 86%

The results showed that once people get a bin and understand the program, most will start to recycle. The girls were so amazed with their results they continue to find new avenues to spread the word and make a difference.

Michael Frank

“Rain Barrel Eagle Scout Project”

River Forest (Cook Co.)

For his Eagle Scout project, Michael wanted to increase environmental awareness and help promote the benefits of water conservation through the use of rain barrels within his community. To accomplish this he planned and installed a rain barrel on the River Forest Village Hall and distributed an informational brochure about rain barrels. Michael acquired and painted 3 rain barrels, two 60-gallons and one 45 gallon. One 60 gallon barrel was installed in a highly visible location near the front entrance of the Village Hall. The second 60-gallon barrel was placed in storage as a replacement and the 45-gallon barrel was placed in the Village Hall lobby, acting as a display for the brochure. To date 400 brochures have been distributed and a pdf copy is available on the Village’s web site to educate citizens on the benefits of rain barrels, hopefully inspiring some to install one.

Photo: Award presentation

Earth Protectors from Prather School

“Magazine Mountain”

Granite City (Madison Co.)

The Earth Protectors are involved in a variety of recycling projects. “Magazine Mountain” was a 6 week competition where classrooms were asked to bring in magazines and brochures. The classes measured the heights of the paper, and the Earth Protectors collected it, took it to the recycling bin and recorded and charted the data. To encourage students to collect as many magazines as possible the Earth Protectors kept track of each collection by measuring yarn the same length in inches as the height of the pile collected. The yarn was hung from the ceiling down the hall and at various collection points a picture of something that was the same length as the yarn was displayed.

4.5 tons of magazines were collected as a result of this competition.

Photo: Award presentation

Tayler McGillis

“Saving Toluca’s Natural Resources”

Toluca (Marshall Co.

This is Tayler’s 4th Green Youth Award.

Tayler’s project this year consisted of three different components. The first was distributing compact fluorescent light bulbs to teach residents about energy efficiency. The energy efficient light bulbs reduce the consumption of energy and carbon dioxide emissions, while lowering Toluca’s carbon footprint. Tayler’s second project consisted of distributing water bladders for the tanks of toilets to teach residents about water conservation. The average household uses approximately 21 gallons of water daily in their toilets. With 500 homes now using the bladder, Toluca is saving 2400 gallons daily and 876,000 gallons annually. Remodeling the entrance to Jumbo Park to help restore and preserve the park’s environment was Tayler’s third and final project this year. In restoring, preserving and beautifying the entrance to “Jumbo Park” Tayler has given food and shelter to the local animals, birds and insects. The refined landscaping improves the overall appearance of the park and reduces soil erosion. Tayler also added organic fertilizer and mulching after the plants had been installed creating a water retention barrier providing moisture control and aiding the plants.

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