The Environmental Protection Agency presented its 10th annual Clean Air Excellence Awards for 2009 honoring 14 organizations and one individual for reducing pollution, promoting environmental education and creating green products and jobs throughout the United States. In Washington State, Puget Sound Energy is being recognized for their Air Quality Education/Outreach program.
The program, named “Powerful Choices for the Environment”, aims to change the way middle school students in western Washington think about air quality in their ecosystem.
Environmental educators from Puget Sound Energy partner with 18 local agencies to deliver a four-day program that works with students through a series of hands-on, inquiry-based activities that focus on local air quality, waste reduction, and energy and water use.
Students develop a greater understanding of how their individual decisions affect their local ecosystem as well as the global challenges facing the environment. Now in its 16th year, the Powerful Choices program reaches over 17,000 6th-8th grade students in more than 90 schools throughout the Puget Sound region.
One focus of the four-hour program is air quality as one non-living component of the students’ ecosystem. Students discover how daily decisions affect air quality by examining their own transportation options, how they choose to acquire everyday items like clothes and shoes, and how they use electricity. They use a transportation game and an adventure book to better understand their impact and ways to improve air quality.
For more information on the Clean Air Excellence Awards Program, visit EPA’s national news release: http://go.usa.gov/3ka