DES’s Volunteer River Assessment Program, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Team and Dave Chase (posthumous) Recognized by U.S. EPA
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services’s Volunteer River Assessment Program, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Team and Dave Chase (posthumous), DES’s Radon Program Manager were among four Granite Staters and four New Hampshire groups honored by EPA today at Boston’s Faneuil Hall as EPA presented its annual Environmental Merit Awards for 2009.
Given out by EPA since 1970, the merit awards honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts to preserve the region's environment. The winners from New Hampshire were among 31 from across New England. Awards were given in the categories of individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization. Also, each year EPA may present lifetime achievement awards for individuals. Environmental Merit Award Winners from New Hampshire are:
Local, State or Federal Governmental Environmental Merit Award:
Volunteer River Assessment Program, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services NHDES
Hundreds of volunteers with the NH Volunteer River Assessment Program have for 10 years provided data to the NH Department of Environmental Services regarding more than 9,500 miles of rivers and streams in New Hampshire. In addition to collecting data, volunteers for the program have become advocates for clean water and holistic watershed management. In 1998, this program was created to educate the public on water resources, to improve water quality monitoring and to encourage long-term stewardship. After 10 years of state and local partnership and help from 200 volunteers from 30 rivers groups, advisory committees, watershed associations and individuals, volunteers have made a significant difference in monitoring local water quality. Over the years, these groups have started taking ownership of their own sampling and management programs and have served as stewards of state rivers and streams, providing access to date the state would not have been able to get on its own. This program gives citizen volunteers technical assistance and equipment, as well as a direct economic return as they protect their own natural resources
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Team – New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES)
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Team has set up innovative measures to control greenhouse gases, including the first-in-the-nation auction of CO2 emissions allowances. The six New England states are among 10 states pioneering this first mandatory cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and states have committed to cap and then reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by power plants in their region, limiting the total regional contribution to greenhouse gases. A September auction brought in $28 million for Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Maryland and two more auctions have been held since. New England states have made more than $80 million in revenues from the auctions, which can be used for future energy cutting and efficiency programs.
State Electronic Challenge Partners – City of Keene, NH
The state government of Maine; the Department of Environmental Protection in Connecticut; the City of Keene in New Hampshire; and the school department in the city of Providence, Rhode Island, are all being recognized for their involvement in a voluntary program that promotes greener use and disposal of government technology equipment. The challenge is administered by the Northeast Recycling Council. In its first year, the State Electronics Challenge signed on 29 partners, including entire state governments as well as small municipal departments. The four organizations chosen for awards have shown exceptional leadership in the field. The achievements of this group include purchasing greener or “environmentally preferable” computers, reducing energy use by computers through software and employee education, and managing old electronics through reuse, recycling and other methods that reduce their impact. Altogether, the partners in this program reduced energy by the amount used by 1662 households a year; avoided greenhouse gases equivalent to taking 1,370 cars off the road for a year; and eliminated 152 metric tons of trash, the amount of waste generated by 76 households a year.
Lifetime Achievement Environmental Merit Award:
David S. Chase (posthumous)
David Chase, who died in November, is being recognized for the extraordinary work he did for the NH Radon Program over 17 years working for the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). Under Dave’s tenure, he brought the program up to EPA and state standards and received national recognition for his work. His expertise allowed him to consult with several national and international organizations, including the World Health Organization. During his tenure in New Hampshire, Dave collected more than 23,000 test results from homes in the annual radon survey. This let him map radon occurrence across the state and made the state program one of the country’s leading authorities on the mapping of radon occurrence. It let scientists analyze radon occurrence in the state in relation to geology and home construction. From the time he began as an emergency response planner with the state Bureau of Radiological Health in 1991 through 2008, when he was running the Radon Program, Dave was passionate about his work, and cared deeply about his colleagues and the world around him.
Robert W. Varney
As the longest-serving regional administrator and the top environmental official in New England, Mr. Varney was responsible for taking on high profile initiatives associated with climate change, energy efficiency and renewables, homeland security and preparedness, clean air and safe drinking water, Superfund and Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment, environmental justice and healthy communities, and the restoration of rivers, lakes, and coastal areas. Bob is nationally recognized for instituting many innovative approaches and policy initiatives that have served as national models. Previously, Mr. Varney was one of the nation’s longest-serving state environmental commissioners. As Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), he was appointed by three governors of both political parties. He also served as Director of the New Hampshire Office of State Planning, Executive Director of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, and Executive Director of the Upper Valley-Lake Sunapee Council. In addition, Mr. Varney has chaired numerous professional organizations such as the Environmental Council of the States, NH Energy Facility Evaluation Committee, NH Water Resources Council, Federal Ozone Transport Commission, Governmental Advisory Committee, and the EPA Superfund Policy Forum.
H. Meade Cadot
Dr. H. Meade Cadot dedicated a career of 38 years to the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, NH. During his years there, he built the kind of exemplary land trust that blends land protection with education and stewardship. Ahead of his time, Meade had a vision in the 1970s of a contiguous protected greenway. He understood that protecting habitats is essential for preserving biodiversity. When Meade began at the Harris Center, it oversaw100 acres of protected land. Through partnerships Meade increased this to more than 12,000 acres, shaping and influencing the quality of life in the Monadnock region for the present, for the future, for people and for wildlife. He led people into the woods and wilderness of southern New Hampshire, firm in his belief that those who experience nature are more interested in protecting it. Whether leading tracking trips or heading a team for the Christmas Bird Count, Meade has opened the doors of the natural world to a generation of people. His center has served more than 4,000 students in 25 regional schools. As he retires from the Harris Center, Meade is being recognized for his life commitment to protecting land for wildlife and connecting people to this land.
Carol R. Foss
During three decades working at NH Audubon, Carol Foss was a pioneer in wildlife protection. Beginning with her master’s thesis on the impacts of human disturbance on owls, Carol has been a leader in wildlife research and conservation. In the 1980s her theory that tree-climbing mammals might be responsible for the loss of osprey eggs and young led her to install metal guards at the base of nest trees. Since then, nests with guards have produced twice as many young and the technique has been applied to eagle nests as well. Throughout her career, Carol’s commitment to science brought people together. She helped develop the state’s Threatened and Endangered Species list in the 1970s and the NH Fish and Game Department’s Non-game Program in the 1980s. Through her work as a trusted broker among parties with conflicting views, Carol was able to achieve land protections, including the Wilcox Point Wildlife Management Area, a bald eagle winter roosting area, and the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. At the Audubon, where Carol has served in many capacities, she has been a mentor to colleagues and aspiring biologists. She has repeatedly proved herself a catalyst for action on conservation issues.
Environmental Leaders of the Future – PEYA Award:
Green Your Lives
The Green Your Lives team will receive the President’s Environmental Youth Award in Washington, D.C. in May. “Green Your Lives” is a student-led initiative dedicated to educating the students and school community on going green and putting their knowledge into action. The students’ goal is to promote greener lifestyle choices which results in a reduction of energy costs and carbon emissions. The students began their work within the school focusing on energy conservation, waste reduction, and recycling. Their work has since expanded to include a community outreach program Give and Go in the Town of Bedford, NH, which educated more students and community members on greening their lives. They have also created an informational website, produced public service announcements, created educational posters and videos for many schools across the state and country, and built a model solar car and are experimenting on creating a hydro prototype. Over the project’s history, the team’s efforts have reduced paper output by 30%, promoted using 100% recycled paper, defaulted all printers in the school to print double-sided, powering down classrooms and computers nearly 100% when not in use, improved recycling in the cafeteria, and educated students in seven other schools about the waste output and lifecycles of products they buy and use. Because of this project 1,000 pounds of waste has been diverted from going into landfills or other waste streams. Green Your Lives has been a motivating endeavor that has allowed students and staff to think and act beyond the term of this project and make it a part of their everyday life.
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