EPA Celebrates the 2023 Winners for the Presidential Environmental Awards
ATLANTA (April 26, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), announced the 2023 recipients of the Presidential Innovation Awards for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) and the President’s Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA). This year’s winners from the Southeast include Kelly Dillman (PIAEE) of Jacksonville, N.C.; Katherine Nicole Torres Haragutchi (PEYA) from St. Augustine, Florida; and Roman Kenneth Phillips (PEYA) from Fort Mill, South Carolina.
We are thrilled to honor the crucial work that students and teachers are doing in every corner of our nation,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Our awardees represent bold and dedicated leaders who are ready to tackle the biggest climate challenges, and we are so grateful for their commitment to environmental education. Congratulations to all the award winners—we can’t wait to see what you do next.
Environmental stewardship begins in the classroom through the passion and creativity of educators and young leaders who are dedicated to achieving a healthy, prosperous, and more equitable future,” said White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory. “From climate change to environmental injustice, this year’s award winners are tackling our planet’s most pressing environmental challenges.
The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) award was established by the 1990 National Environmental Education Act and seeks to recognize, support, and bring public attention to the outstanding environmental projects performed by teachers who go beyond textbook instruction to incorporate methods and materials that utilize creative experiences and enrich student learning in K–12 education. CEQ, in partnership with EPA, administers this award.
The President’s Environmental Youth Award (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.
From across the country, 13 educators and 41 students are recognized for their leadership and commitment to environmental education and environmental stewardship. This year, nine educators received the 2023 PIAEE, and four educators were recognized with an honorable mention distinction. Winning educators demonstrated leadership by integrating environmental education into multiple subjects and using topics such as climate change, environmental justice, water infrastructure, healthy school environments, environmentally friendly agriculture practices, recycling, and reducing contributions to ocean and marine litter.
Additionally, 34 students who worked as a team or individually on 15 projects received the President’s Environmental Youth Award; eight students received honorable mentions. Their stewardship projects, conducted in 2022, display a commitment to advancing community garden efforts, protecting pollinators, reducing pollution, and conserving water and energy, reducing food waste, and combating climate change.