Published on 05/09/12

Georgia 4-H'er honored by President Obama

By Capri Martinez

Pulaski County 4-H member Andrew Day has earned the 2011 President's Environmental Youth Award for Region 4 for his efforts to fight water pollution.

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) is awarded to a young person from each of the EPA’s 10 regions for projects aimed at protecting the nation’s air, water, land and ecology. Award winning projects this year ranged from an analysis of the Lake Champlain Basin to restoring the Boise Riverbank.

C.L.E.A.N. Club founder

Day, 17, received the prestigious award for his Ocmulgee River Project, which addresses the rising water pollution levels in his county. Day created a group within the Pulaski County 4-H Club called Choosing to Lead Environmental Action Now or C.L.E.A.N.

The group, which ranges from 12 to 30 members, focuses its efforts largely on storm drain tagging and educating residents that material deposited into local drains travels directly to the Ocmulgee River, without stopping at a water processing plant. In addition to educating the community, the group helps with cleanups.

Day got the idea to establish the C.L.E.A.N. group in 2008 after participating in an Eagle Scout project to tag storm drains in Byron, Ga. "I wanted to carry it over to the 4-H Club," he said.

Benefiting the community

Pulaski County 4-H agent Sonya Jones is extremely proud of Day and the C.L.E.A.N. Club.

“Hawkinsville and the surrounding counties have benefited from Andrew’s storm drain tagging project, the C.L.E.A.N. Club and environmental education efforts, and they will continue to do so for many years to come,” Jones said. “Andrew is a bright shining star that will succeed in all his endeavors and will create a dynamic future for himself.”

Day never imagined his efforts would earn him the PEYA or a trip to the White House. He enjoyed meeting the other nine award recipients and the national environmental leaders at the White House Summit on Environmental Education.

“It was cool to be able to talk to them because these people have jobs in the environmental protection industry," he said.

Upon his return to the peach state, Day was honored by Georgia EPA Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming at the Downtown Atlanta Cleanup Challenge Celebration held in Centennial Olympic Park on April 24.

After graduating from Veritas Classical School, Day plans to attend Macon State College.

Capri Martinez is a Georgia 4-H AmeriCorps VISTA member.

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