OK student receives the President's Environmental Youth Award - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

OK student receives the President's Environmental Youth Award

Rhodes (Source EPA) Rhodes (Source EPA)

DALLAS, TX (KSWO) – A kindergartner from St. Mary’s Episcopal school in Edmond, Oklahoma is among the national winners of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Presidential Environmental Youth Award (PEYA). Rhodes Molenda received the award for starting a cost-free recycling program and developing campaign to save electricity at the school.

Rhodes decided to take action when he learned that the school’s recycling program was coming to an end. Rhodes devised a new recyclables collection program that would be cost-free for the school. After seeking support from the school’s administrator, Rhodes placed recycling bins in each classroom and staff workroom. Every week, Rhodes and students from the Beyond the Classroom program collected plastic, aluminum, and paper recyclables. A local Girl Scout Troop then took these recyclables to the proper disposal location. By collecting and delivering the recyclables, the school did not need to pay for a separate recycling service, making the project cost-  free and sustainable with ongoing support from student volunteers.

“These students are the next generation of leaders in environmental stewardship,” said EPA regional administrator Ron Curry. “These awards recognize exceptional students doing exceptional things to combat climate change and increase sustainable practices.”

The PEYA awards recognize outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth. Student projects featured activities such as creating a new eco-friendly fertilizer, restoring and conserving local habitats, promoting recycling and other waste reduction methods, analyzing the impact of solar panel installation, exploring a new water pollution mitigation method, and analyzing storm water flow and flood risk.

EPA recently recognized 18 teachers and 63 students from across the country for their outstanding contributions to environmental education and stewardship. These 2015 winners and honorable mentions for the annual PEYA and 2015/2016 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) were honored for their work at the White House.

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