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Nominations sought for King County’s Earth Heroes at School awards program

Nominations for the 2013 Earth Heroes at School are due Feb. 23. Winners will be honored at an event featuring King County Executive Dow Constantine on April 25, during the County's annual Earth Week celebration.

Recycling, restoring habitat, composting lunchroom waste and growing pesticide-free gardens are among the many types of award-winning projects carried out by students, teachers and staff in King County schools.

By acknowledging environmental leaders in the school community through the Earth Heroes at School Program, King County hopes to inspire others to adopt similar actions to protect the environment.

The program is offered through the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks' Solid Waste Division.

Earth Heroes at School honorees in 2012 included:

• Vicki Conrad, a teacher at Chestnut Hill Academy in Bellevue, who created a school Green Team, set up a food scrap collection program, led the effort to plant a school vegetable garden, and helped implement energy conservation measures to qualify Chestnut Hill Academy as a Level Two King County Green School.

• Mike Jackson, a teacher at Tahoma High School in Maple Valley, who involved his PC tech repair students in repairing 129 old school district computers, distributing them free to needy families in the community and offering the families training support.

• Mike Nelson and Rick Bouloumpus, custodians at Stillwater Elementary School in Carnation, who saved their school thousands of dollars by repurposing and reusing furniture, equipment and materials that would otherwise have been discarded. Money saved has benefited the school's Science Docent Program.

• Sandy Zimmermann, a student at Highline Big Picture High School in Burien, who initiated a trash audit that led to her role in expanding the school's recycling program. She also organized a pep rally to motivate students to properly recycle, and coordinated the necessary support from the school district, facility staff and teachers.

Earth Heroes can be nominated by colleagues, classmates and the general public. Self-nominations are also encouraged. Nomination forms are available at kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/education/earth-heroes.asp, or by calling Donna Miscolta, 206-296-4477.

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