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About the Award

Christi Veleta was one of the City of Jacksonville’s most devoted employees for over 30 years. During her tenure she displayed the highest levels of professionalism in her work with the Environmental Protection Board. A common thread throughout her career was a passionate focus on a better quality of life for all the residents of Duval County through environmental education, awareness, and action. She provided unparalleled community service and continuously displayed outstanding initiative. 

The Environmental Protection Board established the Christi P. Veleta Environmental Award in recognition of her more than two decades of meritorious service to the people of Duval County, commitment to environmental issues and her devoted protection and preservation of our natural resources. The award recognizes an individual who has exhibited, over a long-term, environmental stewardship, displayed superior environmental initiative, and consistently promotes environmental education and outreach.

Past Winners include:

2010 - Christi P. Veleta
2011 - Mark Middlebrook
2012 - Kevin Songer
2013 - Ron Littlepage
2014 - Dr. Quinton White
2015 - Felicia Boyd
2016 - Lucy Cortese
2017 - Sarah Boren
2018 - Jimmy Orth
2019 - Mark Mummaw
2021 - Anna Dooley

Winner Of The 2022 Christi P. Veleta Award Announced!


The 2022 award will be presented to Melissa Ross at the JEPB Awards Luncheon on November 16, 2022.

For the past 13 years, Melissa has used her on-air, digital, and community platforms to consistently engage and educate Northeast Florida residents and organizations on environmental issues.  When she began her role in 2009 as the host and producer of First Coast Connect, Melissa noticed that there was little to no consistent environmental journalism being done in Jacksonville. From the earliest days of the program, she has made it a priority to book subject matter experts on the environment.
Additionally, Melissa took the initiative to pitch WJCT senior leadership on creating a special digital focus on covering climate change and environmental issues. The result is the digital magazine ADAPTFLORIDA.ORG, which is dedicated full-time to creating new content to educate the public. ADAPT also features a newsletter, podcasts, and live events held at WJCT Studios.
Melissa has moderated a number of events herself at WJCT Studios focusing on this topic, including one called “Sinking Cities” that was a collaboration with PBS. She has also hosted shows that appeared on PBS JAX that have educated television viewers in our area about
environmental concerns.  When Melissa became host of the statewide public radio show The Florida Roundup, she
incorporated regular environmental coverage into that program as well.

 Melissa Ross is being recognized for her longtime commitment to environmental education and outreach along with the protection and preservation of natural resources.