KIDS for the BAY wins the 2005 EPA Environment Award

Berkeley, CA (May 4, 2005) — KIDS for the BAY is proud to announce that it has won an EPA Environmental Achievement Award for 2005.

“We are thrilled to receive this award not only because it recognizes our own staff’s hard work to promote environmental awareness and
responsibility in young people, but also because it recognizes the work that our many students have done to help clean-up and restore San Francisco Bay and its urban creeks,” said Mandi Billinge, Executive Director and Founder of the Berkeley-based nonprofit.

KIDS for the BAY is a project of Earth Island Institute and currently works in 60 schools in low income areas around the San Francisco Bay area. Since its inception over 12 years ago, the organization has taught hands-on, environmental science to more than 25,000 elementary school students.

KIDS for the BAY creates on-going environmental education programs and promotes active restoration and stewardship of local habitats. It provides long-term, in-depth, experiential training for teachers. At target schools, the organization’s programs are written into the School Wide Development Plan.

“We are pleased to see KIDS for the BAY receive this award because its ‘School-Wide Creek Program’ has been the major highlight of this year at our school,” said Minh-Tram Nguyen, Principal at Encompass Academy Elementary School in Oakland. “During the period of time that KIDS for the BAY has been teaching here, students’ achievement levels have increased markedly.”

The U.S. EPA Region 9’s Environmental Achievement Awards program seeks to recognize those working to protect and preserve the environment. Winners of this year’s Awards were selected from a pool of 175 nominees from California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii. Selection was based on a project’s long term benefit for the environment; promotion of innovative ideas, techniques, and/or technologies; and ability to be widely replicated.

KIDS for the BAY students interview politicians about environmental justice issues in their neighborhoods and teach their families about environmental protection. They have planted thousands of trees and wildflowers along urban creeks; cleaned tons of trash from school neighborhoods; and helped to reduce the waste stream from their schools.

“Our program shows teachers how they can use the local environment as a key educational resource to stimulate students’ learning,” noted Billinge. “Our students become stewards of their local environment and feel empowered to help solve local environmental problems. They are also more excited about learning.”

EPA Award Acceptance Speech
Given by Mandi Billinge, Executive Director/Founder

I would like to thank the EPA for recognizing our work in Environmental Education. I would also like to thank Sheela Shankar, Ket Ashfield and Tony DeCicco, who are here today from KIDS for the BAY.

Over the past twelve years, we have partnered with 25,000 school students on urban habitat restoration, pollution reduction and safe bay food consumption projects.

Our schools are in very urban areas. For example, every one of our schools in Richmond is within a one-mile radius of a polluting facility.

We do teach our children that everyone has the right to live in a clean and healthy environment and we teach them the tools to take action.

Our students interview politicians about environmental justice issues in their neighborhoods. They reach out and teach environmental messages to their families. They have planted thousands of trees and wildflowers along urban creeks, cleaned tons of trash from school neighborhoods and helped to reduce the waste stream from their schools.

Our children have a lot of hope for their environment and they are the future leaders of the environmental movement.

Mandi Billinge
KIDS for the BAY