Contact: Sally Tarhi
Date: April 2, 2015
Phone: (412) 481-9400
Email: [email protected]
Pittsburgh – Four environmental conservation and education programs from throughout Western Pennsylvania will share $20,000 from Dominion and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) for innovation and effectiveness in making a positive impact on the Western Pennsylvania environment.
The four programs are this year’s winners of the 2015 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards, presented annually to local organizations that demonstrate leadership, effectiveness and results in making an impact on the environment. All four were chosen by a group of independent judges of environmental experts and PEC staff in response to a call for entries earlier this year.
With these awards, each winner will designate a $5,000 cash prize to be used in support of a nonprofit environmental program of their choice.
The winners are:
- Environmental Charter School – Pittsburgh (Allegheny County)
- McKean County Conservation District – Smethport (McKean County)
- Paint Creek Regional Watershed Association – Windber (Somerset County)
- Sustainable Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh (Allegheny County)
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 27, 2015 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel downtown.
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.
Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 24,600 megawatts of generation, 12,200 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,455 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates one of the nation’s largest natural gas storage systems with 928 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves utility and retail energy customers in 13 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company’s website at www.dom.com.
2015 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards
- Environmental Charter School
The Environmental Charter School (ECS) at Frick Park educates students to high academic learning standards using a themed curriculum that fosters knowledge, love of and respect for the environment and the will to preserve it for future generations.
ECS has worked continuously to create innovative programming, recruit effective teachers, invest in green and healthy practices in both facilities and culture, and connect with national leaders in sustainability. It strives to bridge understanding of environmental issues through an approach to a topic that often includes an investigation of social, economic, and humanities elements. ECS connects students to the natural and built worlds around them and has instilled a culture of sustainability through a series of projects with lasting impact on the health, wellness, and environmental impact of the school.
The school’s success demonstrates that an environmentally-focused charter school can fill a knowledge gap for our region’s children while ensuring they receive the best possible education.
(412) 247-7970 x113
- Paint Creek Regional Watershed Association
The Paint Creek Regional Watershed Association (PCRWA) was formed in 2000 to combat abandoned mine discharges (AMD) and other sources of environmental degradation, educate the community about these issues, promote environmental recreation, and ultimately restore a healthy aquatic community to waterways within and downstream of its watershed.
The Paint Creek Restoration Plan prioritized areas of needed improvement and provided recommendations and potential solutions that would heal the watershed. Stemming from this plan, PCRWA hosted an annual Watershed Awareness Day, sought to treat the Jandy discharge, and created and distributed watershed fact sheets.
PCRWA partnered with the Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team to install flow measuring devices and collect monthly water samples from the targeted discharges. They secured funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener grant program to design and construct three treatment systems for four AMD’s along Weaver Run.
- McKean County Conservation District
McKean County has 1,925 miles of waterways that are essential to the development of the county and the surrounding region. Nearly 200 of those miles are significantly impaired by siltation caused by unchecked erosion from construction or development, fragmented riparian corridors, and certain agricultural practices.
The McKean County Conservation District Fish Habitat Improvement & Stream Restoration Program addresses streambank erosion, denuded riparian corridors, and degraded fish habitat caused by development and agriculture throughout the county. This program has proven very effective in reducing sediment-based pollution, improving habitat for aquatic species, educating private land owners, and assisting homeowners in resolving substantial erosion hazards.
Since the program began in 2007, 85 structures have been installed which stabilized 13,825 feet of streambank, thereby preventing the loss of an estimated 985 tons of soil.
Riparian areas have been restored and new areas created through the planting of over 1,300 native shrubs and trees and streambank fencing projects.
- Sustainable Pittsburgh
Sustainable Pittsburgh developed performance programs tailored to southwestern Pennsylvania’s unique sustainability needs and opportunities based on market-selected practices. These voluntary programs provide a pathway for organizations to advance their sustainability goals and objectives, resulting in positive impacts for the organization, the local community, and for the region. Cost savings, healthier and engaged employees, and positive recognition are just a few of the benefits participants can derive. Together, Sustainable Pittsburgh’s sustainability performance programs have led hundreds of organizations of all sizes and types to implement best practices to conserve resources, save money and reduce emissions.
Through one of its performance programs, the Green Workplace Challenge, nearly 100 employers took actions over the past two competitions that saved $7.4 million in energy costs and enough water to fill Heinz Field 223 feet deep. Participants reduced carbon emissions by 22,821 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which translates to almost four full days’ worth of all flights leaving Pittsburgh International Airport.
Ginette Walker Vinski