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‘Going Batty’ earns presidential award for Oklahoma girls


Jessica Mackiewicz, Alex Bryan, Teresa Ezersky and Cristina Navarro can tell you a thing or two about bats. Spending a year learning about bats and teaching others about the benefits the animals bring to the environment earned the four girls from Oklahoma presidential recognition.

The team of bat crusaders accepted their President’s Environmental Youth Award today during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“Today’s young people are tomorrow’s stewards of our environment,“ said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. ”By recognizing and encouraging their efforts to make our world a cleaner and healthier place, we help ensure our environment will be in good hands"

Each year, the President’s Environmental Youth Awards are presented to recognize young people who become an environmental force, individually or collectively, within their community.

The Oklahoma foursome came together as part of Girl Scout Troop 222 and developed the ‘Going Batty’ project to educate children and adults on the importance of bats as pollinators. Mackiewicz and Bryan are from Edmond, Okla., while Ezersky and Navarro are from Guthrie, Okla.

The team conducted research, interviewed educators and met with wildlife conservation biologists to complete the project. They learned that pollinators — including bats — make a third of the world’s food possible and help 90 percent of the world’s flowering plants to reproduce. Selecting bats as pollinators for their project, the team focused on four main goals: develop an educator’s check-out crate; build, assemble and install bat houses at Deer Creek Prairie Vale Elementary; build a human bat house to help children understand how bats live; and participate in the 2005 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo to teach a wide range of visitors about bats.

The President’s Environmental Youth Awards have been presented annually since 1971 to honor students in kindergarten through 12th grade who develop projects that help protect local environments and promote local environmental awareness in their communities. The deadline for submitting applications for the regional award program is October 31 of each year. Additional information on the President’s Environmental Youth Awards and the 2006 winners is available at


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