Youth groups and individuals from around the state received awards totaling more than $11,000 during the recent West Virginia Youth Environmental Day at North Bend State Park in Cairo.
Sponsored by the state Department of Environmental Protection, the 49th annual Youth Environmental Day drew close to 1,000 young people and their families.
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 19 ceremony:
Rick Vecellio Memorial Scholarship – Brittany Peters, Girl Scout Troop 4988, Roane County. 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 – Drew Ash, Greenwood Wildcats 4-H Club, Doddridge County (grade school winner); Ronnie Bonecutter, Haer Bears 4-H Club, Mason County (middle school winner); Melissa Ashman, Girl Scout Troop 4988, Roane 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 – Gage Smith, Greenwood Wildcats 4-H Club, Doddridge County. This $150 award is presented for the poster that best expresses ideas on sustainable forestry.
Maple Award (tree planting) – Greenwood Wildcats 4-H Club, Doddridge County. This $150 award is presented to the youth group completing the best tree planting project.
Go-Mart Corporate Energy Essay Award – Chloe Sergent, Cow Creek Hi Strivers 4-H Club, Putnam County. First place $125.
Bear Category Environmental Award – Mount Clare Mountaineers 4-H Club, Harrison County. This $500 award is presented to a youth group, whose members are ages 12-14, completing projects that answer an environmental need.
Litter Control Award – Newark Shining Stars 4-H Club, Wirt County. This $250 award is for the youth group that has completed the most successful litter clean-up projects.
Mountain Laurel Category Environmental Award – Cub Scout Pack 47, Wood County. This $500 award recognizes youth groups, ages 6-11, which have completed projects addressing an environmental need.
Cardinal Art Poster Awards – (Two first-place winners) Dylan Haynes, Vernon-Stardusters 4-H Club, Mason County and Amanda King, Busy 4’s 4-H Club, Mason County. Cardinal Art Posters must depict an environmental theme. They are judged on originality, quality, and choice of theme.
Rick Vecellio Memorial Art Poster Awards – (Five winners) Elaine Ashman, Girl Scout Troop 4988, Roane County; Kaden Smith, Greenwood Wildcats 4-H Club, Doddridge County; Alyssa Hudson, Winfield Scotts 4-H Club, Putnam County; Andrew McComas, Go Getters 4-H Club, Mason County; Mark Tucker, Cub Scout Pack 47, Wood County. The $100 awards are given for posters that depict an environmental theme, judged on originality, quality, and choice of theme.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin Beautification Award – Comet Cardinals 4-H Club, Jackson County. The $150 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 Awards – Bridge Creek Bandits 4-H Club, Putnam County. The $125 award is presented for the most outstanding litter prevention project conducted for a school.
Mountain State Award of Excellence Environmental Project – Haer Bears 4-H Club, Mason 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 – Sequoya Bua-lam, Winfield High School Environmental Action Club, Putnam County; Jonathan Swecker, Lucky Leaf 4-H Rhododendron Club, Randolph County. The $100 awards go to the outstanding boy and girl who are nominated based on their extensive involvement in their club’s community environmental activities.
Stream and Trails Award – Sharp Shooters Shooting Sports 4-H Club, Wood County. This $100 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 – (Given to youth groups in each of the six districts in recognition of their overall community environmental efforts). Each receives $100. District 1: Wilsonburg New Horizons 4-H Club, Harrison County. District 2: Greensburg Go Getters 4-H Club, Berkeley County. District 3: Horner Busy Bees 4-H Club, Lewis County. District 4: Hinton Helping Hands 4-H Club, Summers County. District 5: Point Pleasant Jr./Sr. High, Environmental Buddies, Mason County. District 6: Morristown Mountaineers 4-H Club, Wirt County.
Environmental Achievement Award – Winfield Scotts 4-H Cloverbuds, Putnam County. This $125 award is presented to a newly enrolled youth group that has shown the most progress through participation in community environmental projects.
Rhododendron Category Environmental Awards – Busy Bison 4-H Club, Marion 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 Awards – Hill Billie 4-H Club, Mason 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 – Boy Scout Troop 32 and Crew 32, Hampshire County. This $200 award is presented to a youth group completing a wildlife management project that encompasses food, water and cover for West Virginia’s wildlife, especially during the winter months.
Recycling Education and Awareness Award – Cow Creek Hi Strivers 4-H Club, Putnam County. This $150 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 – Lucky Leaf 4-H Rhododendron Club, Randolph County. This $100 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.
Kroger Plastic Recycling Awards – Midway Getters 4-H Club, Preston County. This $250 award encourages recycling plastic shopping bags.
Environmental Education Award – Mountaineers 4-H Club, Mason County. The 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 – Highland School Hawks Conservation Club, Ritchie County. The $250 award is given 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, Pleasants 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.
North Bend Clean & Green Litter Control Award – Cairo Climbers 4-H Club, Ritchie County. This $200 award is presented to the youth group that completes the most outstanding job of litter prevention and cleanup efforts at North Bend State Park, especially during Youth Environmental Day.
West Virginia State Parks Superintendents Association Award – Roane Jackson Tech Center, FFA Chapter, Jackson County. This $250 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.
REAP Recycling Power Point Presentation Awards – Girl Scout Troop 4988, Roane 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. The presentation includes the community environmental impact, the educational impact and media coverage of the group’s recycling project.