DEP recognizes area groups at Youth Environmental Day – Huntington Herald Dispatch

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Updated: July 11, 2024 @ 12:17 am

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Several Putnam, Kanawha and Fayette county youth groups and individuals were recognized during the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s 61st annual Youth Environmental Day on May 18 at North Bend State Park in Ritchie County.
The YEP honored 4-H clubs, scout troops, schools, and other youth organizations who completed environmental projects that benefited the state and their communities. Some of those projects included tree plantings, roadside litter and stream cleanups, recycling drives and environmental education.
During the past year, groups enrolled in the YEP collected 875 bags of trash. They recycled more than 9,000 pounds of aluminum, 62,000 pounds of plastic, 100,000 pounds of steel, and 80,000 pounds of paper. They also planted more than 500 trees and cleaned trash from 210 miles of roadways, in addition to community areas and streams. In total, the amount of volunteer hours accumulated by YEP groups equaled an estimated savings of $11.3 million for the state, according to a DEP release.
More than $15,000 in cash prizes were awarded to groups for their outstanding work in environmental and conservation projects.
In addition to recognizing youth groups, the YEP presented the Rick Vecellio Memorial Conservation Scholarship to Carter Takarsh, a senior at Winfield High School and a member of the Winfield Scotts 4-H Club. The $10,000 college scholarship is presented annually to an active YEP member with exemplary conduct throughout his/her school years. The scholarship is made available by the Vecellio Family Foundation Inc. of Beckley.
Other local honorees at the 2024 YEP event included:
The first Youth Environmental Day was conducted May 16, 1964, at Holley River State Park. The event is now celebrated annually at North Bend State Park on the third Saturday in May. Hundreds of participants attend yearly.
Special guests may include the governor, the DEP cabinet secretary, representatives from several award sponsors, and dignitaries. Many exhibits are featured, including those from the West Virginia Division of Forestry, West Virginia State Parks, Raptor Rehabilitation, REAP, and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Law Enforcement featuring Eddie Eagle and Robo Deer.
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