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Salt Lake City students win President’s environmental award


A group of students from Salt Lake City’s Morningside Elementary School received the President’s Environmental Youth Award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., today. The students, using the theme “Get Really Energy Efficient Now!” (GREEN), have engaged in a number of outreach activities that are having a positive impact on the environment.

“Morningside Elementary’s GREEN Team has done a wonderful job of helping raise awareness about innovative ways that individuals can help improve air quality along the Wasatch Front,” said EPA regional administrator Robert E. Roberts. “These students are not just the environmental leaders of tomorrow, they are contributing to real environmental results and outcomes today.”

Morningside’s GREEN Team project has made many positive environmental impacts in the local community. One primary goal of the team was to educate the Salt Lake community about how to use energy resources more efficiently to improve air quality. The GREEN Team visited 500 Utah homes to deliver compact fluorescent light bulbs with an educational message about their energy efficiency benefits. In recognition of this effort, Governor Huntsman signed the “Change a Light, Change the World Proclamation,” honoring the students.

The students also distributed “stop idling” stickers at 15 community council meetings while singing their own composed “Stop Idling” song to encourage people to turn off their vehicles while waiting. In addition, they mailed out more than 50 survey letters about idling vehicles to the education and transportation departments in Utah, and gave 15 presentations to community councils, PTAs, womens’clubs and other organizations about the need to stop and turn off vehicles when idling. The GREEN Team’s logo for this effort is “Stop, Turn-Off, and Save.” Many districts have now implemented idling policies, including the local Granite School District transportation department.

Some significant long-term environmental benefits have resulted from the project. For example, Utah Clean Cities has announced that it is addressing a need to educate transportation systems about idling because of the research and survey information about school buses gathered by the team. The Team has succeeded increasing awareness of simple ways to improve air quality. Many people in the community are now driving their vehicles with the team’s “Stop Turn Off and Save” stickers.

The students have written scripts for speaking engagements, designed surveys and logos, made posters, handed out light bulbs, manned booths, composed and sang the “Stop Idling Song,” written stories, completed science fair projects, and met many hours after school to educate the public about the importance of conserving our national resources. EPA has sponsored the President’s Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA) since 1971. The program recognizes young people across America for projects which demonstrate their commitment to the environment. Young people in all 50 states and the U.S. territories are invited to participate in the program.
Projects submitted in the past have covered a wide range of subject areas including recycling programs in schools and communities; construction of nature preserves; major tree planting programs; videos, skits, and newsletters created by students that focused on environmental issues; and environmental science projects. To be eligible to compete, a student or students, sponsored by an adult, must submit to their local EPA regional office evidence of a completed project as defined in the PEYA application, as well as a completed application.


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