Environmental Achievement Awards Recipients



Mr. Ron Thuma, Maintenance Mechanic, Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge Recycling Program, FWS, KS - Ron is the backbone of the refuge, ensuring that it operates efficiently and safely, and is ever mindful of ways that can make its operations greener.  Ron also manages the Youth Conservation Corps program and impresses upon those young people the importance and benefits of being energy wise, practicing green purchasing, waste pollution and prevention, and how to most effectively recycle and the benefits of doing so.  His recycling efforts won the Refuge, the “Master Recycler Award” from the City of Emporia. moremore


National Wildlife Refuge Oil & Gas Team, FWS, VA - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Oil and Gas Team is a consortium of federal agencies brought together to address the increased need by Service personnel for guidance and oversight in managing oil and gas activities on National Wildlife Refuge System lands. The team's primary goal is to provide Service personnel with the technical, administrative, and legal information needed to effectively manage oil and gas activities throughout the NWRS lands, for the benefit of trust resources. The efforts of the Oil and Gas team has resulted in increased oversight and management of oil and gas activities on refuge lands; improved compliance by oil and gas operators, has initiated localized clean-up of impacted refuges and has improved habitat on NWRS lands. moremore

Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Complex (LNFHC), FWS, WA - Approximately 150,000 people visit the Complex annually. Visitors are exposed to valuable environmental education through tours, special events, community activities, recreation and an innovative public outreach program. Examples of "green" advocacy by the Complex include housing an alternative High School on-site, mentoring students in natural resource education, and operation of a large recycling program for cardboard, metal and steel, paper, plastic, antifreeze, oil and fluorescent tubes. moremore

Denali National Park and Preserve Team, NPS, AK – Denali National Park and Preserve completed the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum building for the National Park Service and Alaska.  The Eielson Visitor Center, located 66 miles inside Denali’s wilderness, utilizes renewable energy sources for 82 percent of the energy it consumes.  The visitor center is a very low profile earth berm building that provides visitors with an unobstructed, intimate view of 20,320 foot high Mt. McKinley - North America’s highest peak. moremore

Mojave National Preserve Team, NPS, AZ – The Mojave NP Team diverted and reused 14,000 tons of asphalt cuttings from a landfill to pave 4.1 miles of Zzyzx Road. There was no cost for asphalt cuttings nor for the delivery of cuttings, which resulted in substantial savings to the National Park Service. Mojave NP’s use of the cuttings eliminated the need to transport them to a distant landfill and avoided the production of green house gases during transportation to the landfill.  The paving project improved the road surface from poor to excellent and reduced the generation of dust and particulate matter that affect visitors and wildlife. moremore

Zion National Park Green Team, NPS, UT - The Green Team identified the need to install water bottle filling stations, encourage visitors to use reusable water bottles, and eliminate the sale of bottled water within Zion National Park.  In 2008, members of the Green Team saw their efforts come to fruition with the installation of water bottle filling stations and elimination of bottled water being sold in the park.  This has resulted in the reduction of waste produced by disposable water bottles, provide visitors with the opportunity to drink Zion spring water instead of water imported from somewhere else, and provide long-term potential for reduced production of bottled water if enough individuals change to reusing bottles versus buying bottled water. moremore

Bryce Canyon Waste Diversion Team, NPS, UT –In 2008, Bryce Canyon National Park, after reviewing a cost analysis as well as its own costs, began contacting waste haulers to find a recycling partner and increase the efficiency of transporting recyclables to a Multi-Recycling Facility.  Using the Yellowstone National Park Headwaters Coalition as a model, a partnership was established between Xanterra, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Garfield County, Utah that is the first of its kind in Southern Utah and sets the stage to open the door for recycling in rural communities throughout the area where virtually no recycling has ever taken place.  Recycling collected by both Xanterra and the National Park Service increased dramatically during 2008 as a result of these efforts. moremore

Xanterra South Rim, L.L.C., Grand Canyon National Park, AZ - Xanterra South Rim, L.L.C. operates the remote Phantom Ranch operation at Grand Canyon National Park.  After an eleven-mile hike, five-hour mule ride, or several day river raft ride, you will arrive at one of the most remote hospitality locations in the country. The full-time staff of seventeen runs the accommodations at Phantom Ranch, which houses up to 94 guests per night, and sees roughly 28,000 overnight visitors and upwards of 75,000 day visitors each year.  This staff is not only responsible for the maintenance and continued tracking of the environmental programs, but they also serve as the main source of environmental education to our guests.

Alaska Science Center, USGS, AK - The Alaska Science Center (ASC) partnered with private and public institutions to form Anchorage's first "Green District," pledging to share best practices and create a more sustainable city.  The participants share a commitment to lead the way for sustainability in the areas of recycling and waste reduction, transportation, energy efficiency, and toxics reduction.  While the ASC had independently implemented an EMS and addressed issues such as recycling and energy efficiency, as a group the Green District institutions have established task forces in each focus area, sharing knowledge and exploring district-wide strategies for sustainability. moremore 

Great Lakes Science Center Super Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) Team, USGS, VA - The team implemented the first ESPC within USGS.  The team’s patience and perseverance for more than a year yielded great results with the implementation of $1.5 million worth of energy and water saving projects at the GLSC in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The GLSC will reduce annual energy consumption by 60 percent or 132 million British thermal units per thousand square feet, and energy costs by 54 percent or $75,500.  Annual water consumption and cost will be reduced by 37 percent which is equivalent to 608 thousand gallons or $13,500 in savings.  moremore

Honorable Mentions

Innovative Cooking Oil Recovery & Reuse Project, Xanterra Parks and Resorts, Yellowstone National Park, NPS, MT moremore

Energy/ Water Conservation, Reston National Center Team, USGS, VA moremore

The Forest Center, Marsh-Billings Rockefeller Team, NPS, VT moremore

Tribal Energy & Environmental Information Clearinghouse, Argonne National Laboratory, ASIA, DC moremore

Rebuilding After Hurricane Rita, Southwest Louisiana Refuges Complex, FWS, LA moremore


U.S. Department of the Interior

Greening of the Interior