Texas Honors its Brightest Environmental Stars - 2014
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality formally honored the winners of the 22nd annual Texas Environmental Excellence Awards on May 7 during this year's Environmental Trade Fair and Conference. Every year, the TCEQ highlights select Texas citizens, communities, and organizations for their exceptional efforts to Take Care of Texas' natural resources.
This year’s award winners, recommended by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Committee, are as diverse as the state itself. Nine projects representing a variety of industries, economic sectors, and age groups were honored for providing superior resource conservation, waste reduction, and pollution prevention. Here are the 2014 categories and winners:
Education — Oceans Program
Students Learn to be Stewards of
the Environment through Hands-On Marine Science Education
The Oceans Program at Flour Bluff Intermediate School in Corpus Christi led by Science Teacher Cliff Strain for 24 years is a unique program for 5th and 6th graders. Strain engages students with science and marine studies by providing a hands-on learning environment where kids find native species in a salt water wetland near the school, kayak and seine fish, and interact directly with animals and fish. Watch the video to see Cliff Strain and Oceans Program students in action.
Youth — Connor Crowe
Helping Restore the
Habitat of the Georgetown Salamander
To earn his Hornaday Award for conservation with the Boy Scouts, Connor Crowe worked to preserve the habitat of the Georgetown Salamander, an endangered species. Working with the Williamson County Conservation Foundation and Southwestern University, Connor organized volunteers to reroute streams and clear brush so that the salamander can live and thrive in the only place in the world it is found. Watch the video to learn more about Connor and the Georgetown Salamander.
Archer Samuel Hadley
Collection of Texas Ash Seeds for the National Ash Genetic Conservation Project
For his Eagle Scout project, Archer Hadley wanted to create a long-term impact on his community by preserving a native drought-tolerant species of tree called the Texas Ash. Working with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Hadley recruited more than 70 volunteers and collected sacks of seeds to conserve the tree for future generations. Watch the video to learn more about Archer and the Texas Ash tree.
Civic/Community – Texas Master Naturalist Program
Providing Skilled Volunteers to
Improve and Steward Texas Natural Resources and Areas
The Texas Master Naturalist Program, which includes 42 chapters and over 8,000 volunteers across the state, provides education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within communities. Master Naturalists have developed or maintained more than 1,770 miles of trail, enhanced more than 195,000 acres, and dedicated more than 2 million hours valued at more than $40.6 million. Check out the TMN video for details about this impactful program.
Water Conservation — StandardAero San Antonio, Inc.
Facility Leads the Way with Water Recycling System
In 1999, Standard Aero, a company that repairs and overhauls engines and aircraft parts located in San Antonio, decided to reduce water usage and create a water-recycling system that would accommodate its large cleaning and electro-finishing operations. The result is a dramatic drop in water usage with the recycling system saving 84 percent of the water that would otherwise go into the waste stream, equating to millions of gallons per year. Watch the StandardAero video to learn more about their innovative project.
Technical/Technology - Raytheon Company, McKinney Site
Reduced energy consumption by approximately 3,600 megawatt hours annually
To address the high demand on electricity from their environmental testing chambers, Raytheon Company, a defense and aerospace industry leader, developed and implemented a mini-chiller system with a programmable controller which can reduce chamber energy consumption by as much as 90 percent. By reducing energy demand, Raytheon is helping to both conserve water and prevent air emissions. For additional information, watch the Raytheon video.
Pollution Prevention — Pioneer Natural Resources
and Gas Company Reinvents the Wheel by Reinventing the Pig
Pioneer Natural Resources reduced emissions and saved resources by taking a new approach to “pigging”, a standard industry process involving running a spherical ball or “pig” through a pipeline to sweep out accumulated produced liquids and debris. By implementing improvements such as launching and retrieving barrels that can hold 14 pigs at a time, Pioneer cut emissions from pigging by 90 percent! View the video to see how Pioneer Natural Resources reinvented the pigging process.
Innovative Operations/Management - GlassCraft Door Company
Creating the First Water-Based
Finishing Process for Fiberglass Doors in the Industry
GlassCraft Door Company, a small business out of Houston, challenged the industry standard for finishing fiberglass doors, which uses a gel stain that emits air pollutants, and developed a cleaner water-based process. It paid off proving that innovating to reduce waste and emissions is both good for the environment and good for business. Watch the video about the GlassCraft process to learn more.
Pollution Prevention — PVI Industries, LLC
Heater Company Replaced Nickel Plating with Recycled Stainless Steel
In an effort to improve its products and reduce waste, PVI Industries, a water heater manufacturer in Fort Worth, eliminated its electroless nickel plating process and developed a new product line using duplex stainless steel. The result is a reduction in liquid nickel waste from 1.3 million pounds in 2008 to nearly zero in 2014! Watch their video to learn more about PVI Industries' new processes.