For at least one V.I. individual and two organizations, the spirit of Earth Day has not diminished in the 40 years since it was first celebrated. In keeping with that spirit, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week awarded them each the agency’s Environmental Quality Award at the Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference held at the Sugar Bay Resort in St. Thomas.
Local honorees included V.I. environmentalist Paul Chakroff, along with Island Yacht Charters and the V.I. Network of Environmental Educators.
“Today we honor those who advocate for a better environment and give their time and energy to make the world a healthier and cleaner place,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck as she presented the awards. “The people and organizations we honor today are truly making a difference and we thank them for their part in helping us shape a more sustainable environmental future.”
Environmental Quality Award recipients are chosen from the following categories: individual citizen, environmental education, press and media, business and industry, non-profit organization, environmental or community group, and federal, state, local or tribal agency. The recipients come from within Region 2, which includes New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, The U.S. Virgin Islands and seven federally-recognized Indian Nations. The award winners span a wide range of environmental achievements, but each proves exemplary determination and success.
The 2010 U. S. Virgin Islands Environmental Quality Award Winners are:
Category: Environmental Education
V.I. Network of Environmental Educators, St. Croix
The V.I. Network of Environmental Educators (VINE) links educators with natural and cultural resource organizations and other stakeholders to increase the availability of environmental and cultural programs in local schools and community organizations. VINE releases a seasonal newsletter “Straight from the Vine,” which provides informational resources and highlights their success.
Category: Business and Industry
Island Yacht Charters, Inc., St. Thomas
Island Yacht Charters is a St. Thomas-based marine recreation company that educates its clients on the need to minimize impacts on the U.S. Virgin Island’s sensitive marine environment and water quality. Each of the company’s vessels is fitted with solar panels that allow them to operate solely on solar energy while moored.
Individual Category: Paul Chakroff
St. Croix Environmental Association, St. Croix
Chakroff is the executive director of the St. Croix Environmental Association and serves on the board of the V.I. Conservation Society, where his leadership helped reorganize the society to better serve the community. Paul’s other accomplishments include leading land-conservation efforts, protecting sea turtles and coral, leading a community campaign in support of clean renewable energy and generating awareness of environmental and health impacts of fossil-fuel combustion.