The Kokua Hawai’i Foundation Named U.S. EPA Environmental Champion

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Kim Johnson with The Kokua Hawai’i Foundation in Haleiwa, Hawaii was named one of 8 of  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 environmental champions for its Pacific Southwest Region.

Kokua supports environmental education in schools and communities throughout Hawai’i.  In addition to educational outreach, Kokua established the Plastic Free Schools program to provide resources, tools and training to school communities to minimize plastic consumption.


The environmental awards acknowledging significant contributions winning organizations have made in the past year to protect the environment and support communities.

“Award winners are leaders who are going above and beyond to make big moves to protect the environment and support local communities,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Work by these groups will leave a positive, lasting impact on us all for years to come.”

Groups and individuals were selected from nominees received this year from businesses, government officials, tribes, academia, and environmental organizations.  This year’s winners are from Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada.

Other winners include:

–  Stardust Non-Profit Building Supplies (Phoenix, Ariz.) – A reuse organization, Stardust offers Deconstruction, a green alternative to conventional demolition, to prevent the waste of usable building materials. More than two million pounds of product are diverted from local area landfills each year and offered to the community for reuse, promoting sustainable practices.

–  Inland Empire Regional Composting Authority (IERCA) (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) – A product of a regional partnership between the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, IERCA developed a state of the art compositing facility diverting waste from landfills.

–  Jeffrey Betcher with Quesada Gardens Initiative (San Francisco, Calif.) – Provides public gardens, public art and gathering spaces to historically underserved and environmentally challenged S.F. neighborhood for little or no cost to the public.

–  Curtimade Dairy (Tulare, Calif.) – Dairy used underutilized land on its property to install one of the biggest dairy solar units in the U.S. slated to reduce the facilities greenhouse gas emissions by 27,000 tons in the next 25 years.

–  John Clements (retired) with Kings Canyon Unified School District (Reedley, Calif.) – Demonstrated feasibility of zero emission, battery-electric school buses and refrigerated lunch delivery trucks.

–  Dr. Bob Holland and Carol Witham (Mather, Calif.) – Wetlands scientists, Holland and Witham   educate students and local decision makers, work collaboratively with agriculture and agencies, and develop maps to champion vernal pool protection and recovery throughout the State of California.

–  Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway (Reno, Nev.) – Non-profit helped establish Bikeway-government partnership between the City of Reno and the Nevada Department of Transportation resulting in the completion of a 116-mile long bikeway following the Truckee River from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake.

Individual award presentations will be conducted at various locations in the Pacific Southwest region over the next several months.

Each year, the Pacific Southwest office encourages citizens in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawai’i and the Pacific Territories to nominate individuals, non-profits, businesses, local governments and other groups for environmental awards. This program offers a great opportunity to recognize individuals and groups outside of the EPA who are working to protect public health and the environment. Awards are granted to scientists, teachers, journalists, citizen activists, young people, organizations, business representatives, tribal leaders, public officials, and others committed to protecting public health and preserving our natural surroundings.

For more information about EPA’s 2013 environmental award winners, visit: