Youth groups and individuals from around the state received awards totaling more than $15,000 during the recent West Virginia Youth Environmental Day at North Bend State Park in Cairo.
Housed under the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Youth Environmental Program is celebrating its 50th year of existence in 2013, and has sponsored Youth Environmental Day every year since its inception. This spring’s event drew close to 1,000 young people and their families to North Bend.
Awards were presented based on participation in community environmental projects such as litter cleanups, recycling drives, school beautification projects, tree planting, backyard composting, wildlife management, watershed protection and much more.
Following is the list of winners who were recognized during the May 18 ceremony:
Rick Vecellio Memorial Scholarship – Sequoya Bua-Iam, Winfield High School. This scholarship is presented to an active Youth Environmental Program member with exemplary conduct throughout his/her school years. Recipient receives $2,500 per year for four years.
West Virginia Forestlands & Wood Products Art Awards – Izabelle King, Mountaineers 4-H Club, Mason County (grade school winner); Travis Jones, Greenwood Wildcats 4-H Club, Doddridge County (middle school winner); Kamille Bonecutter, Haer Bears 4-H Club, Mason County (high school winner). Three $150 awards are presented for art creations that promote West Virginia’s forest resources or wood products created from these forests.
Sustainable Forestry Art Poster Award – Melissa Ashman, Girl Scout Troop No. 4988, Roane County. This $150 award is presented for the poster that expresses ideas on Sustainable Forestry, which involves the management of hardwood forests through natural regeneration.
Maple Award (tree planting) – Sharp Shooter 4-H Club, Wood County. This $150 award is presented to the youth group completing the best tree planting project.
Go-Mart Corporation Energy Essay Award – Leah Casarano, Sandy Pals 4-H Club, Preston County. This $125 award is presented for a winning essay titled, “Energy Options and Ways to Conserve Energy.”
Bear Category Environmental Award – Mountaineers 4-H Club, Mason County. This $500 award is presented to a youth group completing projects that answer an environmental need, whose members are ages 12-14 years.
Litter Control Award – Morristown Mountaineers 4-H Club, Wirt County. This $300 award is presented to a youth group that has completed the most successful litter clean-up projects.
Mountain Laural Category Environmental Award -- Busy 4’s 4-H Club, Mason County. This $500 award is presented to a youth group that has completed projects addressing an environmental need, whose members are ages 6-11.
Cardinal Art Poster Awards – Kaylene Marie Snyder, Cedarville Centurions 4-H Club, Gilmer County; Luke Sturgeon, Roadrunners 4-H Club, Mason County. Posters must depict an environmental theme and are judged on originality, quality, and choice of theme. Winners receive either a scholarship to Junior Conservation Camp or State Conservation Camp.
Rick Vecellio Memorial Art Poster Awards – Levi Riley, Greenwood Wildcats 4-H Club, Doddridge County; Kaden Smith, Greenwood Wildcats 4-H Club, Doddridge County; McKinzey Haverty, Jim Ridge Challengers 4-H Club, Putnam County; Brooke Welch, Winfield Scotts 4-H Club, Putnam County; Keilee Smith, Highland School Hawks Conservation Club, Ritchie County. Each winner presented with $100 for poster that depicts an environmental theme and is judged on originality, quality, and choice of theme.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin Beautification Award – Comet Cardinal 4-H Club, Jackson County. This $500 award is presented to the youth group that completes the most outstanding job of community litter prevention, clean-up and beautification.
Keep West Virginia Beautiful Award – Horner Busy Bees 4-H Club, Lewis County. This $300 award is presented for the most outstanding litter prevention project conducted for a school.
Mountain State Award of Excellence Environmental Project – Highland School Hawks Conservation Club, Ritchie County. This $500 award is for clubs with projects answering an environmental need, that have also won first place in the past two years in the Mountain Laurel, Bear and Rhododendron categories.
DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy C. Huffman Brook Trout Kindergarten Award – Belleville 4-H Cloverbuds, Wood County. This $200 award is presented to the kindergarten group that completes the most outstanding environmental projects.
Youth Environmental Hall of Fame Awards – Elizabeth Blankenship, Mountaineers 4-H Club, Mason County; Rachel Casteel, Greenwood Wildcats 4-H Club, Doddridge County. These $200 awards presented to two outstanding girls who are nominated based on their extensive involvement in their club’s community environmental activities.
Streams and Trails Award – Mount Clare Mountaineers 4-H Club, Harrison County. This $300 award goes to the youth group that has shown the most effort in cleaning a stream and/or building or maintaining a trail.
District Coordinators’ Awards – Wilsonburg New Horizon 4-H Club, Harrison County; Boy Scout Troop 32 and Crew 32, Hampshire County; Free Star 4-H Club, Upshur County; Hinton Helping Hands 4-H Club, Summers County; Winfield Scotts 4-H Club, Putnam County; Hamilton Middle Citizens in Action, Wood County. These $200 awards are given to youth groups in each of the six districts in recognition of their overall community environmental efforts.
Environmental Achievement Award – American Heritage Girls WV 1816, Putnam County. This $300 award is presented to a newly enrolled youth group that has shown the most progress through participation in community environmental projects.
Rhododendron Category Environmental Award – Fairview 4-H Club, Wood County. This $500 award is presented to a youth group completing projects that answer an environmental need, whose members are ages 15 years and older.
Recycling Award – Belleville 4-H Club, Wood County. This $300 award is presented to a youth group with the best overall recycling projects. The projects are judged not only on the total pounds recycled, but also on the diversity of recyclables and community involvement.
Wildlife Management Award – Go Getters 4-H Club, Mason County. This $300 award is presented to a youth group completing a wildlife management project that encompass food, water and cover for West Virginia’s wildlife, especially during the winter months.
Recycling Education and Awareness Award – Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High Environmental Buddies, Mason County. This $300 award is given to the youth group with the best community recycling education and awareness project based on club and community involvement.
Save Our Streams Award – Winfield High School Environmental Action Club, Putnam County. This $300 award is given to the youth group whose project(s) meets the goals of the Save Our Streams Program, which are increasing West Virginia’s ability to monitor the quality of state rivers and streams and enhancing public awareness of the need for their protection.
DuPont Washington Works Plastic Recycling Award – Valley Mills Northern Lights 4-H Club, Wood County. This $300 award is presented to the youth group that has completed the most exceptional project(s) that integrate recycling a variety of plastics.
Environmental Education Award – Ashton Elementary Second Grade Class, Mason County. This award is presented to the youth group that has completed the most outstanding work in environmental education by creating public awareness on environmental issues such as recycling, litter laws, hunter safety, hazardous waste, nongame wildlife, etc.
Watershed Protection Award – Lucky Leaf 4-H Rhododendron Club, Randolph County. This $300 award is presented to the youth group that shows the most effort in watershed protection, education and community awareness.
REAP Adopt-A-Spot Award – Schultz Ridge Runners 4-H Club, Mason County. This award is presented to the youth group with an Adopt-A-Spot that has maintained the spot with three reported cleanups and that has planted and maintained flowers on the spot for each blooming season.
REAP Recycling Power Point Presentation Award – Haer Bears 4-H Club, Mason County. This award was created for those youth groups wishing to step up their involvement in environmental activities by creating a Recycling Power Point Presentation.
North Bend Clean & Green Award – Cub Scout Pack 47, Wood County. This $200 award is presented to the youth group that completes the most outstanding job of helping keep North Bend State Park clean and green especially during Youth Environmental Day.
West Virginia State Parks Superintendents Association Award – Cedarville Centurions 4-H Club, Gilmer County. This $300 award was established by the late Steve Boler, superintendent of Pipestem Resort State Park, to foster relationships between local youth groups and state parks, forests and wildlife management areas.