The Environmental Protection Board (EPB) established an awards program in 1975 to honor outstanding environmental accomplishments, in several categories, above the actions required by law. Over the years individuals or organizations have been chosen for the Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award because of their innovation, commitment and expertise. The awards program also recognizes individuals who have long term commitment to the protection and preservation of the environment with two special awards – the Charles E. Bennett Champion of the Environment Award and the Christi P. Veleta Environmental Award.
EPB Awards for Outstanding Environmental Achievement
The EPB Environmental Achievement Awards recognize individuals and organizations in Duval County for superior, creative and innovative efforts in the following categories:
- Government / Institutional (public sector or educational institution)
- Community / Civic (nonprofits, social or civic groups, neighborhood assoc., etc.)
- Business (more than 50 employees and/or annual sales of more than $5 million)
- Small Business (fewer than 50 employees and/or annual sales of $5 million or less)
As population continues to increase and resources continue to be consumed, innovation will be the foothold to environmental sustainability. Over the years, previous winners of the awards have created many innovative solutions to what were previously pollution problems.
Some past accomplishments include:
- Turning a sewage treatment facility property into a bird sanctuary
- Taking waste water and, through land application, producing sod for commercial sale while diverting over a million gallons of waste water from the municipal sewage treatment plant nearby
- Establishing a unique way of educating young students regarding water conservation by initiating a play which grew to reach all the public elementary schools in Jacksonville
- Taking steps to control beach erosion through the recycling of Christmas trees
- Individuals taking note of their surroundings to report suspicious environmental activities which resulted in the arrest of an individual for illegal dumping of pesticides
- planting trees at DCPS schools and a major reforestation project where 6,000+ trees have been planted at the Cecil Commerce Center
2017 EPB Outstanding Environmental Achievement Awards
The EPB Awards Subcommittee had an opportunity to review nominations for some outstanding programs and individually. After this review, they decided to present awards in the categories below. Current Education and Public Outreach Committee Chair Michelle Tappouni and Board Chair Dr. Lucinda Sonnenberg presented the awards during the 2017 Environmental Symposium held on the campus of UNF on October 4, 2017.
Government/Institutional Award – UNF Environmental Center
Founded in 2004, the center is recognized for developing and supporting multidisciplinary teaching, research and educational programs that address the environmental needs of Northeast Florida. The Center also conducts and supports campus infrastructe projects involving sustainability and the campus’s natural environment.
Accepting the award is Maria Mark, James Taylor and Dave Lambert, Director
Individual Award – Alyssa Bourgoyne
For exhibiting leadership by stepping into a challenging position to lead Groundwork Jacksonville early in their existence due to the unexpected departure of their initial Executive Director. Through financial and program struggles, she was able to move the organization forward and established a highly successful youth program, the Green Team, as well as initiate work along the S-Line, an urban trail and key component of the Emerald Necklace.
Community/Civic Award - Groundwork Jacksonville
Founded in 2014, Groundwork Jacksonville is the city’s primary non-profit partner specifically created to remediate and redevelop the Emerald Necklace. Their work leads them to initiate sustainable strategies and team up with the Urban Core communities to improve health, safety and property values by cleaning abandoned land and contaminated waterways. The outcomes of their equitable development activities will result in greater connectivity to open space and water which leads to pride and happiness, the social interaction of the residents and greater prosperity.
Accepting the award is Kay Ehas, Executive Director and Alyssa Bourgoyne
Business Award - Florida East Coast Railway
For pioneering the use of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) as a locomotive fuel. They are the first North American railroad to convert their entire mainline locomotive fleet from diesel fuel to LNG. This is a much cleaner and more efficient fuel source for them which substantially reduces carbon dioxide, particulate matter sulfur dioxide emissions.
Accepting the award for Florida East Coast Railway is Rod Keefe and Fran Chinnici.
Environmental Professional Award - Michael Hollingsworth
Each year the Education and Public Outreach Committee is made aware of the significant dedication and perserverence of environmental professionals in the community. The individuals are often unsung because the do their job consistently and well while often being overlooked. The committee decided to present an award this year to recognize them and thank them for their commitment. This award will be presented at the discretion of the EPB.
Mike is the Environmental Technical Lead for Water Quality at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. His steadfast commitment in providing environmentally sustainable solutions to water resource problems in Jacksonville is to be admired. His 12 years as a water quality expert with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and his 2 years as the St. Johns Riverkeeper allow him to provide an unique perspective to the challenges of balancing USACE mission execution with environmental protection.