Milton, Mass. “Green Teen” Honored by President at White House Ceremony
Michael Browne, a member of Milton, Mass. Boy Scout Troop 5, was one of only ten youths honored yesterday at the White House, as President George W. Bush and EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson presented Presidential Environmental Youth Awards.
The prestigious awards are presented annually to students in grade 12 or lower, to recognize extraordinary community involvement in environmental issues.
“Environmental responsibility is everyone’s responsibility,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “This year’s Presidential Environmental Youth Award winners have made protecting our planet an everyday commitment, and proven that together we can create a cleaner, healthier world.”
Michael became inspired to implement a change when the time came to develop his project to achieve the status of an Eagle Scout. After learning the detrimental effects of lead on the environment and lead’s danger to human health, Michael became determined to make a change. He focused on the fact that lead poisoning is one of the leading causes of death of waterfowl and raptors whom often ingest lead particles in sediment.
Using funding and donations for the project, the Boy Scout developed a brochure and banner to educate anglers about the dangers of handling and release of lead weights used in fishing. In hopes of removing these weights from fishing, Michael and his troop set out to educate the public on this issue.
Together, they assembled over 700 sample weight packages outlining the dangers of lead on the environment as well as providing environmentally sound alternatives. The troop also collected 43 pounds of lead weights at local fishing derbies.
The hard work of Michael and his troop was not only recognized by EPA – both here in New England and nationally – but his work also was noted by the Massachusetts Senate. Selected by Field and Stream Magazine, who recognized Michael with its first “Heroes of Conservation” award, Michael was also invited to present information at the Massachusetts State House, accompanied by an invitation to speak before a legislative committee in support of a Senate bill to ban lead from fishing.
The Presidents Environmental Youth Awards were established in 1971, and are designed to recognize youth up to the twelfth grade. The program is aimed at encouraging youth to promote environmental awareness and encourage positive community involvement.
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