YAB Makes a Big Splash with a Big Award

This spring, the Friends of Deckers Creek Youth Advisory Board (YAB) received national recognition from Sea World / Busch Gardens with a National Environmental Excellence Award. This award is a national competition for youth organizations working towards environmental conservation, and out of hundreds of applicants from across the United States; YAB was one of only eight recipients to receive the award, and the only organization from West Virginia. Three YAB representatives and FODC’s Education Coordinator, Shannon Dey, traveled to Sea World Busch Gardens in Orlando, Florida last month to receive the award, the $10,000 check, and to present their local environmental and community work. This funding will be used to continue ongoing projects such as their regional public school and city park recycling program, youth environmental education workshops at the Outdoor Learning Park in Sabraton, stormwater management activities like storm drain marking and rain barrel construction, assisting FODC with art and garden installations at the Outdoor Learning Park, hosting events which encourage youth to get outside and interact with their environment, participating in WV Youth in Government and other leadership development courses, conducting stream water chemistry sampling and fish and benthic macro-invertebrate community surveys, and watershed education through YAB recruiting activities.

At the award ceremony, YAB members Tristan Dennis, Evan Lintz, and Katie Zucker gave a presentation which showcased their projects, community service, and accomplishments throughout the past few years along with the other seven youth organizations which won the award as well. After the award ceremony, YAB got a backstage tour of the SeaWorld Rescue and Rehabilitation Facility and enjoyed the SeaWorld & Bush Gardens Theme Park including the 2011 Shamu show, “One Ocean”, and met Jack Hanna, the well known conservationists and zoo keeper.

YAB co-chair Tristan Dennis was quoted saying,

Going to Sea World was a great experience. I had the opportunity to meet some great kids with the same mission as YAB. It was interesting to see other youth led groups from across the country, who work on projects similar to ours. Our adventure inspired ideas for future projects the Youth Advisory Board could begin in the Morgantown community and Deckers Creek watershed.