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Valley Proud Environmental Council Receives GULF GUARDIAN AWARD


STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Valley Proud Environmental Council (VPEC) of Harlingen, Texas will receive a second place Gulf Guardian Award for 2007 in the Civic/Non-profit Category for their “Captain Crab Clean Beach Campaign and Puppet Show”. The awards will be presented during the 2007 Clean Gulf Conference on November 14, 2007 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Bayside Ballroom in Tampa, Florida beginning at 6 p.m.

The Captain Crab Clean Beach Campaign (CCCBC) was developed in 1998 by multiple partners to educate residents of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and northern Mexico and visitors to the beaches of South Padre Island and Boca Chica Beach that it is unhealthy and unlawful to litter our beaches. This multi-media, bilingual project and one-of-a-kind puppet show‘s purpose is to change irresponsible behavior through environmental education. It is the only on-going educational beach litter deterrent program being conducted consistently in the region throughout the year. VPEC continues to present this important environmental message throughout this bicultural region using television, a radio jingle and billboards in English and Spanish, local newspapers and circulars. VPEC’s “A Day at the Beach” video, created in 2004, is viewed by students, and a brief survey is completed, prior to each performance. The puppet show audience has expanded to include a multitude of groups including civic functions. Since it’s inception in January of 2006, Captain Crab, a life-size mascot and his Beach Patrol puppets, a pirate, sea gull, sea turtle, pelican and dolphin, have performed in over 50 school campuses as well as traveling to events along the Gulf coast. A litter bag containing our Captain Crab Pledge, Litter Facts sheet, environmental activity booklet, ruler and marine life stickers has been provided to over 8,000 students viewing the performance reinforcing the message: “Trash Our Beach, Pay The Price”.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. Award entries were received from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in seven categories – individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, partnership and bi-national efforts.

“Gulf Guardian awards showcase accomplishments from a broad spectrum of environmental leaders -- from committed individuals to dynamic corporations,” EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. “I applaud their success in preserving the vital resources of the Gulf Coast, one of our most valuable national treasures.”

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

Bryon Griffith, Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said “This is the 8th year of the Gulf Guardian Awards Program and I am proud to say that each year the winners in all categories have represented the very best of environmental accomplishments in the Gulf of Mexico. The 2007 award winners truly exemplify the bond that enthusiastic and committed citizens, communities, governments, and businesses share in addressing complex problems to improve, protect, and sustain our regional and national treasure, the Gulf of Mexico.”


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