About the EPB Awards
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
2018 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 were joined by JEPB members Amy Y. Fu and Gabriel DuPree to present the awards during the 2018 Environmental Symposium held on the campus of UNF on September 14, 2018.
Government / Institutional Award – Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA)
The award was presented for their demonstrated high regard for environmental stewardship and commitment to sustainability efforts in the community.
Accepting the award is Carter Rohan and Andy Rodgers
Government / Institutional Award – Duval County Master Gardener Program
Award is presented for their efforts to educate individuals about how the overuse of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation can have a negative impact on the environment.
Accepting the award is Terry DelValle
Community/Civic Award - Timucuan Parks Foundation
Award is being presented for their efforts to preserve, promote, and protect the vast network of parks, preserves and conservation areas within Jacksonville. Coincidentally, the Executive Director, Mark Middlebrook, holds the distinction of being the only person to have received the JEPB’s two highest honors – the Charles Bennett and Christi Veleta awards.
Accepting the award is Mark Middlebrook, Executive Director
Environmental Award(s) of Merit - Christopher Hong / Nate Monroe and Dr. Radha Pyati
In 2015, the JEPB established the Award of Merit which would be given at the board’s discretion. This award is presented in order to recognize and thank environmental professionals or organizations that may have done something of special significance, or had a significant impact. In 2018, the board decided to present two awards.
Christopher Hong and Nate Monroe are journalists for the Florida Times-Union where they cover a variety of government, business and investigative stories. They were presented the award for exceptional media reporting with the “As the Ocean Creeps In” series. This informative and thought provoking series shed light on the impact of past river dredging activities and future considerations around sea level rise.
Dr. Pyati has made a significant impact to Jacksonville community as a scientist, educator and advocate. She joined UNF in 2008 as a faculty member in the Dept. of Chemistry and soon became the second director of the UNF Environmental Center. In that capacity, she also assumed responsibility for the annual State of the River Report for the Lower St Johns River Basin which continues to make a significant contribution to public awareness. In addition to all of the local community and media presentations made about the report, under her leadership the report also received international attention from the United Nations with the integration of aspects of the report included in a United Nations World Water Development Report – the first time a US river was included in a world water report. Another example of Dr. Pyati’s leadership was an expansion of the UNF Environmental Center and a successful effort to have UNF join the American College and University Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) which is a public commitment by universities to become carbon neutral. Outside of her work at UNF, Dr. Pyati has been a strong advocate for the importance of science in public policy, as well as many social issues. In April 2017, Dr. Pyati served as a speaker during the Jacksonville March for Science. The event was an important statement by citizens across the country that served as a public demonstration in support of science.