CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s (WVDEP) Youth Environmental Program (YEP) presented close to $15,000 in cash awards to youth groups from around the state for their efforts to better the environment in the Mountain State.
Groups were recognized during the 60th annual Youth Environmental Day last month at North Bend State Park in Ritchie County.
The YEP honored 4-H clubs, scout troops, schools and other youth organizations who completed environmental projects that benefited the state and their communities. Some of those projects included tree plantings, roadside litter and stream cleanups, recycling drives and environmental education.
During the past year, groups enrolled in the YEP worked nearly 35,000 hours to recycle more than 12,000 pounds of aluminum, 39,000 pounds of plastic, 127,000 pounds of steel and 100,000 pounds of paper. They also planted 293 trees, more than 2,500 flowers and cleaned up 156 miles of roadways, in addition to community areas and streams. Groups collected 1,033 bags of trash.
“I am continually amazed by the dedication and passion of our young people who are doing amazing projects to make their communities and our state better,” said YEP Director Annette Hoskins. “It is such an honor to recognize them for their environmental stewardship. They are helping West Virginia shine.”
In addition to recognizing youth groups, the YEP also presented the Rick Vecellio Memorial Conservation Scholarship to Isaiah Ash, a graduating senior at Doddridge County High School. The $10,000 college scholarship is presented annually to an active YEP member with exemplary conduct throughout his/her school years. The scholarship is made available by the Vecellio Family Foundation, Inc., of Beckley.
A complete list of 2023 award winners is available on the YEP webpage