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News Releases from Region 07

Kickapoo Nation School Students in Kansas Win EPA Environmental Award, as EPA Celebrates Earth Day and Environmental Education

Contact Information: 
Emily Albano (

Environmental News


EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan., April 23, 2020) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7, in partnership with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), is pleased to announce that the Kickapoo Nation School’s Environmental Club in Powhattan, Kansas, has been awarded the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA).

Nationally, 35 students who worked as a team or individually on 13 projects received the award. Their stewardship projects, conducted in 2019, display a commitment to learning, protecting natural resources, and engaging their communities in environmental protection.

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are also celebrating nearly 50 years of environmental education that fosters awareness about conservation issues and helps communities make informed, responsible decisions about their environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are also honoring dedicated educators who spark enthusiasm in our youth to develop a love and respect for the environment and find solutions for issues that impact our air, water and land.”

“The students at the Kickapoo Nation School in Kansas were creative in addressing environmental challenges in their community. Their creativity earned recognition through the EPA Harmful Algal Blooms Video Challenge for their video about the dangers of HABs,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “I’m proud to join Administrator Wheeler in also recognizing them with the President’s Environmental Youth Award. In addition to five short films, they planted 160 trees to stabilize a riverbank, planted native milkweed to create a butterfly migration weigh station, and educated their community about the importance of protecting water quality.”

The Kickapoo Nation School’s Environmental Club includes the following members:
  • Nash Francisco
  • Natasha Lewis
  • Sophia Suke
  • Adriana Suke
  • Gabriel Dominguez
  • Vincente Dominguez
  • Savannah Dominguez
  • Kismet Bowsher
  • Caitlin Gouge

From across the country, 10 educators and 35 students are being recognized for their leadership and commitment to environmental education and environmental stewardship. This year, seven educators will receive the 2020 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators, and three educators will be recognized with an Honorable Mention distinction. Winning educators demonstrated leadership by integrating environmental education into multiple subjects and using topics such as healthy school environments, environmentally friendly agricultural practices, reducing ocean litter, gardening, recycling, or STEM to teach sustainability to K-12 students.


The President’s Environmental Youth Award: Since the establishment of the original Environmental Education Act of 1970, the PEYA program has recognized outstanding community-level environmental projects by K-12 youth for almost 50 years. Today, as part of the National Environmental Education Act of 1990, PEYA continues to promote awareness of natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Each year, PEYA honors a wide variety of local projects developed by students, school classes, summer camp attendees, and youth organizations to promote engagement in environmental stewardship and protection. Students in all 50 states and U.S. territories are invited to participate in the program.

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