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News Releases from Region 07

Festus, Missouri, Students Win President's Environmental Youth Award

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Emily Albano (

Environmental News


EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan., July 25, 2019) - Today, the Festus RVI School District Quest Program students were awarded the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. This national award is presented to K-12 students who demonstrate the initiative, creativity, and problem-solving skills needed to address environmental problems and find sustainable solutions.

The White House Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chairman Mary Neumayr and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler presented the award to the Festus RVI School District Quest Program students.

The students’ Pollinator Paradise project centered around natural pest control in their local West City Park. They worked with the city of Festus on an engineering design process and used integrated pest management principles to design a pollinator habitat to increase beneficial insects and reduce the mosquito population.

"The innovative nature of our students is amazing to watch,” said K-5 grade teacher and team co-sponsor Michele Kearns. “From using an inquiry-based approach to identify problems to then developing the confidence, leadership and technical skills necessary to solve, it was humbling to be a part of their journey!"

“The President’s Environmental Youth Awards Ceremony is a day I look forward to each year because it is a time when we honor some of the best and brightest in environmental education and stewardship,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This year, CEQ Chairman Mary Neumayr joined me in celebrating our 200 student and teacher winners who represent excellence in environmental protection. Congratulations and thank you to all our winners for their dedication to protecting human health and the environment.”

“It was a pleasure to join Administrator Wheeler today as we recognized the achievements of students and teachers from across the country who are promoting environmental stewardship and furthering environmental education in their communities and schools,” said CEQ Chairman Neumayr. “These students are our nation’s next generation of leaders and are doing outstanding work.”

“We are proud of what the Pollinator Paradise team has accomplished,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “They worked together with their community to solve a problem in a way that demonstrated creative thinking and commitment to environmental stewardship.”

Established by the 1990 National Environmental Education Act, the PEYA program promotes local environmental awareness among our nation’s youth and encourages positive community involvement. EPA Headquarters works with staff located in EPA’s 10 regional offices in the selection of award recipients across the country.

From across the country, 200 students were recognized for their remarkable efforts on 17 projects that promote environmental education and stewardship. Altogether, EPA received 162 project applications from 26 states.

The PEYA recipients were honored today in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Pollinator Paradise team members include:

Drake Bates, Carlyle Evan Baum, Joseph Zachary Beers, Peyton J. Besore, Abigail C. Bolin, Riley Bond, Wyatt C. Carter, Rose Elaine Coplin, Grace Makayla Declue, Lucas P. Declue, Jacob Calvin Ellis, Oleesia Zoe Erxleben, Elizabeth Lindy French, Richard Alexander Genova, David Zachariah Getting, Dennis Elijah Getting, Carson A. Giles, Evan Griffin, Madison Griffin, Grace Katie Hayes, Nicole Alexandria Hearst, Christine Haley Heibeck, Tyler Joseph Huntsman, Anthony Joseph Huskey, Elisabeth Rose Immekus, William J. Johnson, Logan Chase Karr, Eliana G. Kautzner, Gwendolyn Kort, Richard Gavin, Colby Langdon, James Morelan, Landry Muellersman, Christophe Partney, Sawyer Partney, Sierra Pratt, Ashley Reece, Donald Reese, Robert William Reese, Atley Bryson Rhine, Alex L. Rhodes, Will Roberson, Henry Roux, Audri M. Sauer, Isaac Schnable, Renee Abigail Schnable, Michael Dakota Schneider, Jillian P. Schwartz, Vincent A. Sellman, Marie Rae Lillian Smith, Reid Landon Sparling, Marie Kyah Spencer, Joshua Spindler, Blaine Stokes, Rily Cohen Trupiano, Faith Emma Vivrett, Samuel Gage Waggoner, Cason Walker, Liliana Walker, James Caiden Ward, Kalie Weiler, Gracie M. Westermayer, Kay Annabelle Whitener, Connor Zustiak

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