Inspired by the Next Generation

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(left to right) Emma Hutchinson, Administrator Gina McCarthy, Eric Bear, Milo Cress, and Christina Bear

After serving as EPA’s regional administrator in Denver for only a few months, I am already impressed with the incredible staff we have here at EPA. I am also equally encouraged by what I have seen from our younger generations and the level of their environmental commitment. I recently had a chance to visit with several young people who are making a huge difference. These young folks attended the recent Climate Change Panel in Boulder, Colorado and had a chance to talk with me and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Each one of these kids is incredibly impressive:

  • Milo Cress, already a veteran environmental advocate at the age of 11, is leading an international campaign to reduce the use of plastic straws to help the environment. You can find out more about Milo’s phenomenal work here:  www.bestrawfree.org.
  • Christina and Eric Bear are the 2011 President’s Environmental Youth Award winners. In 2010, the Bears developed a comprehensive Radon Awareness Project to educate Coloradans that radon exposure can cause lung cancer. They continue to find new ways to inspire others to make a difference.
  • Emma Hutchinson is a two-time President Environmental Youth Award winner—earning the recognition in both 2010 and 2012. Her work as part of a team at Boulder’s Fairview High helped pass a City ordinance placing a 10-cent fee on paper and plastic bags. The City  estimates this will eliminate 10,000,000 bags and generate $400,000 in revenue  for recycling initiatives annually. Emma followed up on these achievements by spending the summer as an intern here at EPA Region 8. We will miss her energy and enthusiasm!

Every day I find inspiration from those who work around me. I am especially inspired by these young people who hopefully will be working for EPA one day!

Shaun McGrath is the administrator of EPA’s Region 8 office in Denver, where he directs the Agency’s operations in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and 27 tribal nations. Shaun has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. He joined EPA from Wheelhouse Associates, where he worked to help local and state governments advance clean energy and environmental goals. Previously, Shaun served on the Boulder City Council, and was elected as mayor of Boulder in 2007. He spent more than a decade working with the Western Governors’ Association, serving as a program director on a number of environmental issues including climate adaptation, water and drought.

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