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Students from Durham, Conn. Receive Presidential Award for Environmental Project


Durham, Conn. students from Coginchaugh High School and Boy Scout Troop 27 were recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and received one of 10 awards nationwide for the 36th annual 2006 President’s Environmental Youth Awards.

The students removed over 19,000 bottles from the waste stream at the Durham Fair, or one-third of the 20 oz beverage bottles sold. Their goal was to initiate a recycling program that had been non-existent at the Durham Fair which is a very popular event in Connecticut attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors.

“These students set an example for all of us and demonstrate that each citizen can make a difference in preserving the environment for tomorrow,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “We applaud the innovation and determination these students showed through this project and feel proud that our future environmental leaders are in our midst.”

The partners decided to build their own recycling containers and place them throughout the fairgrounds to promote recycling. Boy Scout members created lids that fit specifically on the receptacles decided for recycling and stenciled with the recycling symbol. Throughout the 3-day fair, volunteers walked around and collected recyclables in the containers. The partners created a sorting station on the fairgrounds. Recyclable containers were then delivered to recycling organizations which converted the recyclable goods into the packaging for the company’s products. The ECO Club marketed the recycling effort to fair visitors and informed newspapers on their project. The community and press were very supportive of this program and helped make this first time recycling effort a big success.

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. Each year, contestants submit applications along with summaries of their environmental projects to EPA’s regional offices. Regional panels judge projects on environmental need, accomplishment of goals, long-term environmental benefits and positive impact on local communities. The panels also consider project design, coordination, implementation, innovation and soundness of approach, and the students’ effectiveness in presenting the projects.

More information on the President’s Environmental Youth Awards, including a listing of the 2006 award winners and their project descriptions, is available (


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