Western PA Environmental Award Winners Announced

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Awards to be presented May 28 at annual dinner at Westin Convention Center; Treasurer Robin Weissmann to present Keynote.
May 20, 2008
PITTSBURGH, May 7 -- Five area environmental programs have been named as the winners of the 2008 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards, announced today by Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

These five programs address a wide range of local and regional environmental issues, including acid mine drainage, building sustainability, wildlife protection and hazardous waste management and were chosen from entries submitted earlier this year.

With these awards, each winner will designate a $5000 cash prize to be used in support of a nonprofit environmental program of their choice.

The winners are:

  • Children's Museum of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh
  • Construction Junction - Pittsburgh
  • Suzanne B. DeArment, Executive Director, Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center - Saegertown
  • South Fayette Conservation Group - Bridgeville
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania Household Hazardous Waste Task Force - Pittsburgh

All entries were reviewed and evaluated by an independent panel of judges and PEC staff on the basis of their relevance, evidence of their impact on the environment, their approach to solving an environmental problem, and the environmental benefit of their work.

The Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards program is open to individuals and organizations that demonstrated a commitment to environmental excellence, leadership and accomplishment, and made significant contributions toward improving Western Pennsylvania's environment. Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council sponsor the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards each year to encourage the community to emulate the achievements of the winning entries, thereby promoting innovative environmental efforts and enhancing the quality of life in Western Pennsylvania.

The winners will be honored at the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel downtown. The event will begin with a reception at 5 p.m.  Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

In addition, state Treasurer Robin L. Weissmann will present the keynote address.  Treasurer Weissman initiated the Treasury Department's Keystone Green Investment Strategy, which strives for strong financial returns on state assets by investing in clean and green technologies that help companies reduce their emissions or otherwise benefit the environment.

About the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards

The Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards recognizes and honors outstanding achievements of organizations, businesses, and individuals in a wide range of environmental initiatives throughout the region and pays tribute to those that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental excellence, leadership, and accomplishment in their respective fields.

By sponsoring these awards, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Dominion hope to encourage the community to emulate the achievements of the successful nominees, thereby promoting innovative environmental efforts and enhancing the quality of life in Western Pennsylvania.

A summary of the 2008 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards Winners follows.

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh): The $29 million expansion of the Children's Museum was a project in environmental sustainability, resulting in the museum receiving a Silver LEED certification in 2006. The building's green features not only reduce its overall environmental impact, but have also become the focus of educational programs and features for the museum's 220,000 visitors each year. Through this expansion, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh is now a showcase of environmental sustainability and advocacy.

Construction Junction - Pittsburgh: Since opening in 1999, Construction Junction has grown dramatically and diverted tons of usable building materials from landfills. More than 14000 doors, 6500 cabinets, 16500 light fixtures, 600 kitchen sets, 6800 plumbing fixtures and 8500 windows are just a portion of the building products that have been recycled into thousands of reuse applications in more than 1000 different communities, helping Construction Junction to grow into a nearly $1 million business, employing 17 people.

Suzanne B. DeArment, Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center - Saegertown: As a volunteer with the Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, Suzanne DeArment has devoted the past 17 years of her life to the care of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in northwestern Pennsylvania. In the past ten years alone, Ms. DeArment has cared for nearly 8,000 animals, including 29 that are considered endangered species such as bald eagles, peregrine falcons, osprey, short-eared owls, and others. She has also been a prolific educator, having been involved in over 170 wildlife conservation programs that have included over 20,000 participants.

 

South Fayette Conservation Group - Bridgeville: The abandoned Maude Mine was both an environmental and public safety and health hazard to the South Fayette Township community. The South Fayette Conservation Group has removed all of the remaining coal mining structures, relocated 1.2 miles of a nearby stream which greatly reduced acid mine drainage into the local watershed, eliminated dangerous high walls and buried exposed mine portals. Thanks to the work of community volunteers, the Maude Mine project is a model for abandoned mine reclamation statewide.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Household Hazardous Waste Task Force - Pittsburgh: The safe and proper disposal of household hazardous wastes is one of the most serious environmental challenges facing municipalities. But since it's formation in 2002, this multi-agency task force has collected and disposed of hazardous wastes from over 14,000 households. In 2007, well over 300,000 pounds of such wastes were collected from a six-county area in southwestern Pennsylvania, obtained during community collection events where residents are encouraged to bring wastes they cannot legally or safely dispose of at home.