CHARLESTON, WV – Wyoming East High School came in first place in two separate entries for the West Virginia Youth Environmental Program.

Taking 1st Place for the Governor’s Beautification Award, Wyoming East won $500.00. The Award is presented to the group that completes the most outstanding job of community litter prevention, clean-up and beautification. These awards are made available by WV State Grange, New Milton, and Chemours Washington Works, Wood County.

Wyoming East received another $500.00 by taking 1st Place in REAP Recycling Powerpoint Award division. The REAP Recycling Awards were created for those youth groups wishing to step up their involvement in environmental activities. It is sponsored by the WV Department of Environmental Protection’s REAP (Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan) Recycling Grants Assistance Program. Students prepared a PowerPoint presentation to highlight their recycling and clean-up activities while focusing on the environmental impact, educational impact, and media coverage of their efforts.

The West Virginia Youth Environmental Program (YEP) will present close to $15,000 in cash awards to groups from around the state for their efforts this past year to better the environment in the Mountain State.

YEP membership consists of 4-H clubs, scout troops, schools and other youth organizations, who complete environmental projects that benefit the state and their communities. Some of those projects include stream monitoring and cleanups, recycling drives and environmental education. The YEP is sponsored by the state Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP).

During the past year, YEP groups worked over 20,000 hours to recycle more than 13,000 pounds of aluminum, 39,000 pounds of plastic, 51,000 pounds of steel and 49,000 pounds of paper. They also planted 1,034 trees, more than 1,500 flowers and cleaned up nearly 75 miles of roadways, in addition to community areas and streams. Groups collected 255 bags of trash.

Normally, YEP award winners are recognized during Youth Environmental Day at North Bend State Park. This year’s event, scheduled for May 15, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Despite the many challenges they faced because of the pandemic, youth groups from around the state were still able to complete projects that made their communities and West Virginia a better place to live,” YEP Director Annette Hoskins said. “I know the rest of the state will join us at the WVDEP in thanking them for their hard work and amazing dedication. And we certainly look forward to next year when we can all be together again at North Bend State Park.”

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