The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control honors young Delawareans each year who have put their passions into projects that benefit our environment. Young Environmentalist of the Year Award winners are honored in a special ceremony at the Delaware State Fair.
Know a young environmentalist who is leading the way? Complete a nomination form and send us letters, reports, photos or other documentation of the project.
The Delaware Young Environmentalist of the Year Award was established in 1993 by DNREC staff and interested members of the public.
Past honorees have included students who have organized tree plantings, a household hazardous waste community collection day and school recycling programs; and students who have volunteered their time with the Delaware Nature Society, DNREC’s Piping Plover Monitoring Program and the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute, among other organizations.
The award program is open to Delaware students in grades 1 through 12 whose actions have resulted in the protection, restoration or enhancement of our state’s natural resources. Projects must have been completed between July 1 and June 30 for awards the following July. Nominations are accepted through late June.
Anyone can nominate a deserving student – teachers, parents, classmates, club or group leaders – by filling out a nomination form and including letters, reports, photos or other documentation of the project. Winners are chosen in three categories: elementary grades 1 through 4, middle school grades 5 through 8, and high school grades 9 through 12. Each will receive a gift card and a prize pack from Delaware State Parks.
For more information, contact Young Environmentalist Awards Coordinator Joanna Wilson, in the DNREC Public Affairs Office, at 302.739.9902
In July 2018, six awards were given to young environmentalists at a ceremony at the State Fair.
Third grader Grace Coyle, age 8, founded a nature club at Holy Cross School in Dover.
Seventh grader Shay Wilson, age 13, of Middletown, was recognized for her butterfly research project, conducted with biologists at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge.
MOT Charter School junior Caroline Dowd planned, organized, and planted a riparian buffer along Cypress Creek for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.
Special recognition awards were presented to Rehoboth Elementary School’s Strawless RES, a group of fifth graders supporting “going strawless” in their school and community; the FIRST Lego League Aqua Dories, a group of 5th through 9th graders who designed and built their own water quality monitoring device; and Charli Evans, who at just 5 years old is already “a lover of all living things” who planted sunflowers and harvested the seeds to feed squirrels and birds.