Last year, 18-year-old Hunter Seaman of Milford was honored for his commitment to the conservation and preservation of wetlands and waterfowl as a youth leader with Ducks Unlimited. Middle school level environmentalists were Adrianna Snyder, 11, and Hannah Steenkamer, 13, both of Newark. As part of her physical therapy, Adrianna devoted many hours to picking up trash on her school grounds, setting an example for her peers. Hannah served as a volunteer junior counselor with the Iron Hill Museum & Science Center’s junior naturalist program. To bring public awareness to the problems of plastic bag pollution, elementary honoree Sonja Rose Bucic, 8, organized a drive to collect single-use plastic bags to create the world’s largest plastic bag ball for Earth Day 2016. The resulting 340-pound bag ball, made of more than 52,000 bags, set a Guinness World Record.
For their innovative ideas, good stewardship and concern for the natural world, Hunter, Adrianna, Hannah and Sonja were honored by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control as Delaware’s 2016 Young Environmentalists of the Year.
If you know students like them who are putting their passions into projects that benefit our environment, you can nominate them for the 2017 Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards.
Open to Delaware students in grades 1 through 12, this annual awards program seeks nominees whose actions have resulted in the protection, restoration or enhancement of our state’s natural resources. Projects must have been completed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. Nominations will be accepted through June 23.
Past honorees have also included students who have organized tree plantings, a household hazardous waste community collection day and school recycling programs; and students who have volunteered their time with the Delaware Nature Society, DNREC’s Piping Plover Monitoring Program and the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute, among other organizations.
Anyone can nominate a deserving student – teachers, parents, classmates, club or group leaders – by filling out a nomination form and including letters, reports, photos or other documentation of the project.
Winners will be chosen in three categories: elementary grades 1-4, middle school grades 5-8 and high school grades 9-12, and each will receive a gift card and a prize pack from Delaware State Parks. Winners will be honored in a special ceremony at the Delaware State Fair in July.
This is the 24th year for the awards program, which was established by DNREC colleagues and friends in honor of Dr. Edwin H. Clark II, who served as Secretary of DNREC from 1989 until 1993.