Do you have a passion for the environment? Have you put the passion into action? Well, you need to let us know and learn about the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA). PEYA is an award program for students K – 12th grade. Whether you completed an environmental awareness project as an individual, a group, or class, you are eligible, and encouraged, to apply.
I have been managing the PEYA program in EPA’s Region 1office for over 5 years. It is one of my favorite programs in the agency and is truly a hidden gem. So many students create projects centered around the environment. How cool is it to be recognized for your passion with an award ceremony in Washington, DC, potentially meeting President Obama, and hanging out with kids from across the country with the same passion for the environment as you. I am always amazed and impressed with the scope and depth of some of the projects submitted. I have had winners who have created a rain garden behind their town hall to prevent runoff from contaminating the river behind it; an Eagle Scout who created a program to have fisherman use an alternative weight to lead sinkers; an afterschool group who created an energy audit and program for its school district and so many more.
The regional award program is conducted once a year, and each of the 10 EPA regions selects a regional winner. Each regional winner is invited to an EPA-sponsored award ceremony in Washington, DC and receives a presidential plague.
I never get bored with students’ passion and action towards the environment. We want to read about your great projects and EPA knows you have worked hard on a project so why not get some recognition? You can get the program details (including applications deadlines), check out previous winning projects for inspiration, and get the application at epa.gov/peya. Get the credit you deserve for putting your passion into action and making the environment a cleaner, healthier place, and remember, it’s never too early to start a project for next year!
About the author: Kristen Conroy is the Environmental Education Coordinator in the EPA Reg 1’s Boston region. Kristen has been with EPA since 1991.