Seattle – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pleased to announce the recipients of the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA). As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, we are also celebrating nearly 50 years of environmental education to spark enthusiasm in our youth to develop a love and respect for the environment. The President’s Environmental Youth Award recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth to promote awareness of our natural resources and encourage positive community involvement.
EPA’s Region 10 winner of the President’s Environmental Youth Award this year is Anna DeVolld, a 9th grader at the Connections Homeschool Program in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District of Alaska. Anna designed the Promote Our Pollinators (POP) program to educate her community about bees and other pollinators, why their numbers are declining and ways to promote pollinator population growth. Anna has held POP “make and take presentations” in schools, libraries and community centers and she distributed POP promotional items, such as reusable tote bags and plant stakes.
“We’re proud to honor this young leader who is educating her community about the importance of pollinators in our environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Chris Hladick. “Students like Anna are making a real difference and inspiring the next generation to be good stewards of their natural resources.”
“Anna’s spirit of conservation has inspired young and old members of our community to look at bees in a new way. Her initial ideas have blossomed through her revisions and improvements into a project that can affect our community for years to come,” said Connections Homeschool Program teacher Wendi Dutcher. “The POP program is a reminder of the part we all play in the future of our environment. Anna has a heart to give back to the community. It has been a delight to see Anna grow through this process, and I look forward to seeing where this journey will lead her.”
“Being selected to receive the President’s Environmental Youth Award is one of the highest honors of recognition that a young person can receive because it not only recognizes a youth’s environmental awareness but their moral commitment to follow through with a project that improves the quality of life for all living things,” said Merrill Sikorski, student sponsor and creator of the Caring for the Kenai community partnership. “I have had the honor of sponsoring seven young people from our community over the last 30 years and thanks to Anna’s POP project last summer, I actually saw a hummingbird in my backyard for the first time in my 46 years living in Alaska.”
Anna also designed Pollinator Packs containing pollinator-friendly seedlings to encourage pollinator-friendly gardens to provide “rest stops” and food sources for pollinators, so they can travel across large urban areas to expand their colonies. She created a flier, kids’ activity book, website, Facebook and Twitter pages to engage her community. She is in the process of creating online and in-class educational curricula based on the POP concept for elementary students. Anna received a grant from the Alaska Chapter of the Awesome Foundation to help with expenses. She won 3rd place in the Caring for the Kenai competition and has been recognized as a State Merit winner for the annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge.
Visit Anna’s Promote Our Pollinators website: http://www.pollinators.devolld.net/