Category Archives: Awards & contests

Three Tips on the Road to a Great Governor’s Award Application

Over on the ISTC Blog, John Mulrow gives organizations tips for writing a successful Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards application. The deadline to apply is May 22, 2014.


Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Accepting Nominations through April 30, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting nominations for the 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The awards promote the environmental and economic benefits of developing and using novel green chemistry both in academia and industry. The American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute® administers the awards in coordination with the EPA.

Deadline for submitting nominations is April 30, 2014. Winners will be announced in the fall and there will be a special awards ceremony in Washington DC.

Please visit the EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards website for further details and to download this year’s nomination package.

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Posted by on March 27, 2014 in Awards & contests, Green chemistry


Nominations now being accepted for Indiana Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence

The Indiana Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence recognize exemplary projects across Indiana. Projects must demonstrate significant and measurable results,  be innovative, comprehensive and documented. For more information, the nomination cover page form, and guidance on how to apply, visit the IDEM Web site at .

Who Can Apply?

The awards are open to all Indiana facilities, state and local units of government, individuals, and technical assistance organizations that operate or support environmental protection efforts of outstanding quality. Eligible technical assistance organizations include, but are not limited to,  public entities; trade associations; individuals; and, public interest, community, educational, and labor groups.

Nominated projects/facilities must be:

  • located in Indiana;
  • focused on significant environmental protection activity;
  • able to provide at least a year of quantifiable results;
  • innovative;
  • voluntary;
  • in compliance with environmental health and safety laws; and
  • willing to share information with others via state publications or Web sites.

The deadline for nominations is April 18, 2014.

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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Awards & contests, Great Lakes


ISTC now accepting applications for the 2014 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is now accepting applications for the 2014 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards.

This award, begun in 1987, is the nation’s oldest continuing pollution prevention program and annually honors organizations and businesses that have made a commitment to the environment through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices.

The application deadline is close of business on May 22, 2014.


U.S. Waters Alliance Announces 2014 Water Prize Winners

The U.S. Water Prize was initiated four years ago by the U.S. Water Alliance to elevate those organizations with strategies that promote the value of water and the power of innovating and integrating for water sustainability.

The 2014 U.S. Water Prize winners are:

  • Alliance for Water Efficiency, Chicago, Illinois;
  • American Water, Voorhees, New Jersey;
  • Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, Ohio; and
  • Orange County Water District and Sanitation District, California.

Winners will be honored in an awards ceremony on April 7, 2014 at National Geographic headquarters in Washington D.C. For more information about the winners, visit:

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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Awards & contests, Water


EPA Announces “Climate Change in Focus” Student Video Contest

EPA and the National Environmental Education Foundation are partnering on a climate change student video contest for middle school students.  The challenge is to create a video that is 30-120 seconds long and that answers the questions: 1) Why do you care about climate change; and 2) How are you reducing carbon pollution or preparing for the impacts of climate change?

Video entries should describe how climate change affects you, your family, friends, and community, now or in the future.  Applicants can use storytelling, images, or anything that explains the steps you’re taking, or could take, to prepare for a changing climate.

The deadline for entries is March 18, 2014.  Winners will be announced on the contest website on or around April 22, 2014.  To learn more, visit:


Calling all students and teachers: Young Reporters for the Environment Competition

Via Great Lakes Echo.

Student reporters and educators alike – the National Wildlife Federation’s “Young Reporters for the Environment Competition” is looking for your environmental work!

The contest is open to students ages 13-21. Eligible submissions should demonstrate investigation about an environmental topic, offer solutions, and reflect knowledge of how the topic relates both globally and to the community.

Contest entries are accepted as:

  • Single photograph
  • Photo essay, consisting of no more than 12 photos
  • A written article, no more than 1000 words
  • Video, no more than three minutes long

The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2014. National winners, which are announced at the end of April, are then entered into the competition’s international level. International winners are announced on World Environment Day, on June 5. Prizes vary, but include reporting equipment (tablets, cameras, etc.) and Amazon gift cards ranging in value.

For rules and more information, click here.

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Awards & contests, Journalism, K-12


Kicking off the 2014 Google Science Fair: It’s your turn to change the world

Via the Google Blog.

What if you could turn one of your passions into something that could change the world? That’s just what thousands of teens have done since the first Google Science Fair in 2011. These students have tackled some of today’s greatest challenges, like an anti-flu medicine, more effective ways to beat cancer, an exoskeletal glove, a battery-free flashlight, banana bioplastics and more efficient ways of farming.

Now it’s time to do it again: we’re calling for students ages 13-18 to submit their brilliant ideas for the fourth annual Google Science Fair, in partnership with Virgin Galactic, Scientific American, LEGO Education and National Geographic. All you need to participate is curiosity and an Internet connection. Project submissions are due May 12, and the winners will be announced at the finalist event at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., on September 22.

In addition to satisfying your curious mind, your project can also win you some pretty cool prizes. This year’s grand prize winner will have the chance to join the Virgin Galactic team at Spaceport America in New Mexico as they prepare for space flight and will be among the first to welcome the astronauts back to Earth, a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour and a full year’s digital access to Scientific American magazine for their school. Age category winners will have a choice between going behind the scenes at the LEGO factory in Billund, Denmark or an amazing experience at either a Google office or National Geographic.

For the 2014 competition, we’ll also give two new awards to celebrate even more talented young scientists:

  • The Computer Science Award will be given to a project that champions innovation and excellence in the field of computer science.
  • Local Award Winners—students whose projects have attempted to address an issue relevant to their community—will be honored in select locations globally.

And the Scientific American Science In Action award will once again honor a project that addresses a health, resource or environmental challenge. The winner will receive a year’s mentoring from Scientific American and a $50,000 grant toward their project.

Stay updated throughout the competition on our Google+ page, get inspired by participating in virtual field trips and ask esteemed scientists questions in our Hangout on Air series. If you need help jump-starting your project, try out the Idea Springboard for inspiration.

What do you love? What are you good at? What problem have you always dreamed of solving? Get started with your project today—it’s your turn to change the world.

Posted by Clare Conway, Google Science Fair team

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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Awards & contests, K-12


Pollution Prevention Institute announces awardees in student competition

Read the full story from RTI.

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) at Rochester Institute of Technology has announced the awardees of its third annual NYSP2I Research and Development Student Competition.

As part of its Research and Development Program, NYSP2I challenged teams of full-time students enrolled at any institute of higher education in New York state to identify a specific activity at their university or in their community with a large environmental footprint. Teams will then be required to design innovative solutions to reduce its impact. Teams are competing under the theme “Greenovate NYS” by undergraduate or graduate level.

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Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Awards & contests, Education


EPA Recognizes Seven Communities for Smart Growth Achievement

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today recognized projects in seven communities as winners of the 2013 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement for their creative, sustainable initiatives that better protect the health and the environment while strengthening local economies. Among the winners are an expansive greenway in Atlanta, a downtown whitewater rafting park in rural Iowa, and a regional development plan for metropolitan Chicago. Other winners include the revitalized Historic Millwork District in Dubuque and an innovative, affordable infill housing development near public transit in Sacramento.

“The winning projects show us that we can develop, grow local economies, and protect public health and the environment all at the same time,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “These projects also act as models for others, so they too can chart their own path toward healthier, more sustainable communities.”

The 2013 award winners were judged in five categories: overall excellence; corridor or neighborhood revitalization; plazas, parks, and public places; policies, programs, and plans; and built projects. Specific initiatives include cleaning up and reusing brownfields; using green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff and improve water quality; providing transportation options; and providing green, energy-efficient housing in low-income areas.

The 2013 winners are:

Overall Excellence – Winner
Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail/Historic Fourth Ward Park, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., Atlanta, Ga.
The Atlanta BeltLine is comprised of four individual “belt lines” that were built as railroad bypass routes around downtown Atlanta in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The 2.25-mile Eastside Trail is the first section of the Atlanta BeltLine trail system to be redeveloped within the abandoned rail corridor. The trail connects five formerly divided neighborhoods by providing 30 acres of greenway, a pedestrian and bicycle trail, and an arboretum. The Eastside Trail connects to Historic Fourth Ward Park, a cleaned-up brownfield that is now a 17-acre park with a lake to handle stormwater runoff. The trail and park have spurred more than $775 million in private development, including more than 1,000 new mixed-income condominiums and apartments currently under construction.

Corridor or Neighborhood Revitalization – Winner
Historic Millwork District and Washington Neighborhood, Dubuque, Iowa
Once a bustling center of regional economic activity, Dubuque’s Millwork District sat vacant for decades after it fell victim to the economic shifts that touched much of the Midwest in the mid-1900s. The adjacent Washington Neighborhood was affected by the Millwork District’s decline, facing disinvestment and neglect when the mills began to shutter their doors and residents moved away from downtown. Today, thanks to strong community partnerships, public engagement, and an overarching citywide commitment to sustainability, Dubuque is successfully restoring both the Millwork District and Washington Neighborhood to the vibrant neighborhoods they once were.

Plazas, Parks, and Public Places – Winner
Charles City Riverfront Park, Charles City, Iowa
After years of fighting against the often-flooded Cedar River, Charles City used land acquired through Federal Emergency Management Agency flood buyouts to create an inviting riverfront park with a whitewater course. Capitalizing on the river’s natural features to help prevent future flooding, Charles City turned the river from an obstacle into an ecological and social benefit. Members of the community were involved in the park’s design and construction. Riverfront Park is a model of how to strategically use flooded properties to create a sustainable and economically valuable amenity.

Policies, Programs, and Plans – Winner
GO TO 2040, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Metropolitan Chicago, Ill.
GO TO 2040 is a policy-based regional plan and metropolitan Chicago’s first comprehensive plan since 1909. Developed by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, GO TO 2040 aims to help the region’s municipalities and counties cope with common challenges and build a sustainable, prosperous future. GO TO 2040 envisions a region where residents have more housing and transportation options; parks and open space; jobs closer to home; cleaner air and water; and a better quality of life.

Built Projects – Winner
La Valentina, Sacramento, Calif.
Lying vacant for over 20 years, the area surrounding the Alkali Flat/La Valentina light-rail station in downtown Sacramento was known for crime, blight, and contamination. In 2007, a public-private partnership between the city of Sacramento and Domus Development brought together community groups to address neighborhood concerns and create a new vision for the area. From that vision came an affordable, mixed-use building complex—La Valentina and La Valentina North—that has cutting-edge energy-efficient features and is located next to a light-rail stop.

Policies, Programs, and Plans – Honorable Mention
Lower Eastside Action Plan, Detroit City Planning Commission, Detroit, Mich.
By 2010, Detroit’s once-vibrant Lower Eastside Neighborhood had the largest number of vacancies in the city. A group of local community development organizations helped residents with planning to start making positive change. They created the Lower Eastside Action Plan and planning process designed to engage residents in making decisions on their neighborhood’s future, stabilizing the thriving areas still left, and transforming vacant properties to improve quality of life.

Built Projects – Honorable Mention
Via Verde, New York City Department of Housing Preservation, The Bronx, N.Y.
Via Verde, a LEED Gold, mixed-income housing development in the Bronx, sets a new standard for how design and energy efficiency can help improve residents’ health and create a sense of community. The project is a partnership between the New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development and private and nonprofit developers, and it sits on a cleaned-up former rail yard in a low-income neighborhood. Via Verde’s location near subway and bus lines, plus innovative design and attention to residents’ needs, offer a model for other developments.

EPA received 77 award applications from 31 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The winners were chosen based on their effectiveness in creating sustainable communities; fostering equitable development among public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders; and serving as national models for environmentally and economically sustainable development.

EPA created the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2002 to highlight exceptional approaches to development that protect the environment, encourage economic vitality, and enhance quality of life. In the past 12 years, 61 winners from 26 states have shown a variety of approaches that states, regions, cities, suburbs, and rural communities can use to create economically strong, environmentally responsible development. EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities manages the awards program.

EPA will host a ceremony on February 5 to recognize the winners.

More information on the winners, including videos:


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