High School Students Win Presidential Environmental Award

EPA honored the Bakersfield, Calif., Independence High School Falcon Autistic Solar Team (FAST) with this year’s President’s Environmental Youth Award in recognition for promoting environmental awareness.

FAST members are special needs students who travel to neighboring schools to promote the benefits and uses of sunlight as a power source. The team uses model solar-powered cars, a house, and a Ferris wheel to demonstrate various uses of solar energy. In addition, these presentations provide an opportunity for these autistic students to work on socialization and science skills while advancing environmental goals.


“These winners have made protecting our environment an everyday commitment,” said Steven John, director of EPA’s Los Angeles office. “Their enthusiasm and dedication to the education of green energy to other students is an inspiration for future generation of environmental leaders”

The FAST members include Royce Fenwick, Kayley Donovan, Erik Mahar, Michael Galarza, Jason Mora, and Jose Rodriguez. The team was sponsored by Independence High School teachers Kevin Crosby and Tim Horton.

Winners were selected from 13 applications submitted EPA's Region 9 office, and were evaluated on environmental need, accomplishments of goals, long-term environmental benefits and positive impact on local communities. Each member of the team is to receive a certificate signed by the President honoring them for their efforts to protect human health and the environment.

Since 1971, the EPA has sponsored the President’s Environmental Youth Awards to honor students in kindergarten through twelfth grade who develop innovative environmental projects.

For more information about the President’s Environmental Youth Award, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/peya

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