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EPA New England Announces 2022 President’s Environmental Youth Awards Winners in Westford, Mass. and Portsmouth, R.I.

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BOSTON (June 30, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), announced the 2022 recipients of the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) in New England. 17 students in Portsmouth, R.I., and one student from Westford, Mass. were chosen to receive awards for their work to solve local and global environmental problems.

“These students are making a difference for the environment they live in,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “They have tackled environmental challenges in their communities and in the world at large and we honor them for their hard work.”

The PEYA was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1970 and recognizes outstanding community-level environmental projects by K-12 youth that promote awareness of natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Each year, PEYA honors a variety of local projects developed by students, school classes, summer camp attendees and youth organizations to promote engagement in environmental stewardship and protection.

The New England winners are among 49 PEYA winners nationwide recognized for their environmental work.

This year’s PEYA winners in New England are:

Rahul Sriram Ram from Day Elementary School (Westford, Mass.) – Ram won for a project called “Reducing Air Pollution & Conserving Water in Community Gardens.” Ram’s project aimed to reduce air pollution and conserve water in community gardens. as well as encourage environmentally friendly agricultural practice. At the end of each season, 150 community farmers will use an average of about 7,000 gallons of gasoline and transmit about 150,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide. Ram created a website that lets people from the community reduce pollution by signing up to water each other’s plots. This reduces air pollution and saves community members’ time. The project also educated farmers, giving them awareness about using hydroponics to save water. Ram is also spreading the word about air pollution reduction and water conservation at his school, and he expects to expand his project and the knowledge of hydroponics to other communities next year.

Portsmouth Middle School (Portsmouth, R.I.) – The 17 students in Portsmouth were recognized for their Portsmouth AgInnovation Farm project, which made use of six acres given to the school. During the pandemic, students held a virtual afterschool class called Portsmouth Ag(riculture) Innovation that involved developing a plan to create a garden on the land, which is about half a mile from the school. After eight weeks, students broke up into groups focusing on: soil health, water quality regenerative farming practices, irrigation and working with small animals. In the spring of 2021, more students joined to help maintain and expand the garden. Fresh produce was donated to local food banks. The Portsmouth AgInnovation continues and is expanding into sustainable gardening, reducing food waste, building a green house, and using solar energy as an energy source for irrigation.

To read about the winning projects in detail, visit:

President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA)

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Author: Region 01

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