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.
2019 Honoree Caroline Nacchia
The Delaware Young Environmentalist of the Year Award was established in 1993 by DNREC staff and interested members of the public.
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.
Teachers, parents, classmates, club or group leaders submit nomination forms and include 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 receives a gift card and a prize pack from Delaware State Parks.
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.
For more information, contact Young Environmentalist Awards Coordinator Joanna Wilson, in the DNREC Public Affairs Office, at 302-739-9902.
In July 2020, awards were given to five young environmentalists at a ceremony at the Delaware State Fair.
Gov. John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin give Charli Evans a big thumbs-up as Elementary School Young Environmentalist of the Year.
Charli Rose Evans, age 7, of Laurel, practices self-sustaining farming techniques, growing food for her family and saving the seeds to replant her garden, which also helps feed her chickens, ducks and goats. Charli even makes her own garden fertilizer by composting food waste to mix with manure from her animals.
Lilyan Farris, age 10, of Bridgeville, is dedicated to “reduce, reuse and recycle” to help children in need by collecting and cleaning used books, board games, puzzles, art supplies and bicycles. Lilyan has kept more than 3,000 books out of landfills to stock little free libraries and rescued 25 bicycles last year for an organization that collects and fixes up used bikes.
Catherine Shapiro, age 14, of Wilmington, is a student leader in Springer Middle School’s Energy Club, with activities including conducting a school energy audit, organizing an eco-event, advocating water conservation and carbon footprint reduction, and surveying biodiversity and pollinators.
Noor Boukari, age 16, of Dover, advocates for sustainability, conducted an award-winning study on bee population decline and received national recognition for her panel discussion and interviews on “Women and Green Futures” at Social Builders US.
Maisie Donohue, age 15, of Wilmington, is an environmental activist who is passionate about climate change education and environmentally friendly diets. Maisie served on the YES! Committee to plan a youth summit for 1,000 students in February and is an accomplished public speaker and budding lobbyist, participating in events such the University of Delaware’s Youth Climate Strike last fall.