2016 Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards

2015 Award Winners

On Saturday, June 6, Aquarion Water Company announced the winners of its fifth annual Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards at a ceremony held at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. The ceremony was part of the 2015 Wild Wine, Beer and Food Safari, the Beardsley Zoo’s annual fundraising event.

And The Winners Are:

Large Business Category – PerkinElmer, Inc. – Shelton, CT

  John Herlihy, Aquarion's Vice President of Water Quality, Environmental Management & Government Relations (right) and Bruce Silverstone, Aquarion's Vice President of Corporate Communications (left) presented the Aquarion Environmental Champion Award in the Large Business Category to Geraint Philips, PerkinElmer's Vice President of Global Operations, Environmental Health.  
 

The focus of Shelton’s PerkinElmer is not only on human health; it’s also on the health of the environment and the company’s surrounding community.

PerkinElmer has been extraordinarily active in encouraging employees to participate in a wide variety of internal and external volunteer projects, including many in the environmental arena.

PerkinElmer’s efforts include:

  • Marshalling employees to clean trash and debris from a mile-long stretch of shoreline on Long Island Sound – including a protected refuge for the endangered piping plover as well as ospreys and other birds
  • Ecological water-testing projects with community schools, scouts and other organizations, all aimed to highlight the need for preventing water pollution
  • Extensively retrofitting its facilities with high-efficiency equipment of all types, including boilers, lighting, electric motors, variable speed drives, chillers and other technologies that conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas production
  • Eliminating elemental mercury from all of its manufactured products • Using organic fertilizers and natural pest control measures on the grounds of its facilities
  • Achieving the globally recognized ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems Certification

For recognizing the hand-in-hand relationships between human, environmental and corporate health, and the company’s many successes in involving employees and its community in the voluntary conservation of both water and energy, we congratulate PerkinElmer on being this year’s recipient of the Large Business Aquarion Environmental Champion Award.


Non-Profit Category – Mill River Wetland Committee – Fairfield, CT

  John Herlihy, Aquarion's Vice President of Water Quality, Environmental Management & Government Relations (right) and Bruce Silverstone, Aquarion's Vice President of Corporate Communications (center) presented the Aquarion Environmental Champion Award in the Non-Profit Category to representatives of the Mill River Wetland Committee.  
 

In Fairfield, Connecticut, the Mill River Wetland Committee celebrates its 48th anniversary. It was formed in 1967 to strengthen local environmental science education, and expand the public’s understanding and appreciation of the Mill River’s many contributions to the environment and the town’s quality of life.

MRWC runs an in-depth environmental educational program called River-Lab, which meets state standards for science education. It provides teacher manuals, in-class student materials and hands-on study-trips into both river and estuary environments for all Fairfield students, in grades three to six, which is one-third of the science curriculum in the school year.

Equally impressive, MRWC has trained more than 650 volunteers to lead those study-trips. The volunteers, many of them parents of the students, must complete a substantive on-line training course, developed by MRWC, and then attend personalized outdoor training sessions.

During 2014 over 3,500 students as well as their instructors, learned about the river watershed’s contributions to wildlife habitat, groundwater replenishment, Earth’s water cycle and other topics. The instructors included high school students in Advance Placement Environmental Science classes who served as adult guides for younger students.

For its many accomplishments in teaching children and the public at large about the river system and the need to understand, respect and protect its many functions, Aquarion is proud to name Fairfield’s Mill River Wetland Committee the recipient of the 2015 Environmental Champion Award in the Non-Profit category.


Adult Category – Shelley Harms – Norfolk, CT

  John Betkoski III, Vice Chairman of Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (right) and Bruce Silverstone, Aquarion's Vice President of Corporate Communications (left) presented the Aquarion Environmental Champion Award in the Adult Category to Shelley Harms.  
 

Shelley has devoted thousands of hours to preserving land, along with its critical water, plant and wildlife resources in Connecticut’s northwestern corner.

Her many accomplishments have come as a board member of both the Norfolk Land Trust and the Winchester Land Trust, as Chair of Norfolk's Conservation Commission, and as a former board member of Aton Forest, an ecological research area in Norfolk. As part of the two land trusts and Aton Forest, Shelley was instrumental in ensuring the conservation of many large parcels and their important water resources. These include the Winchester’s 280-acre Ehrich Woods/Hurlbut Field preserve and Norfolk’s 311-acre Pine Mountain preserve.

As a founding member and now Chair of the Norfolk Conservation Commission, Shelley contributed to its award-winning Natural Resources Inventory and invasive species control program. Demonstrating a tireless commitment to building strong land conservation organizations, she has helped the Norfolk, Salisbury and Cornwall land trusts implement "best practices" and earn accreditation from a national land trust organization. Meanwhile, she has found time to contribute to a broad array of education programs for children and adults alike, all focused on environmental issues and awareness.

For the breadth, intensity and effectiveness of efforts that exemplify Aquarion’s vision of an Aquarion Environmental Champion, we take great pleasure in naming Shelley Harms our 2015 winner in the adult category.


Student Category – Stefanie Milovic – New Fairfield, CT

  John Betkoski III, Vice Chairman of Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (right) and Bruce Silverstone, Aquarion's Vice President of Corporate Communications (left) presented the Aquarion Environmental Champion Award in the Student Category to Stefanie Milovic.  
 

Stefanie is the coordinator of the Hidden Valley Nature Lab, a website run by students at New Fairfield High School. It is designed to make students and the general public more deeply engaged in environmental awareness, education and conservation.

The Hidden Valley Nature Lab was created and is maintained by students from the school’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science and the Digital Academy classes. The website draws much of its traffic by means of QR codes posted on educational kiosks at the town’s Hidden Valley Nature Preserve.

Nature Lab visitors satisfy their curiosity about the preserve’s flora, fauna and natural processes in a number of ways. Teachers use it as a convenient platform for delivering interdisciplinary lessons related to the preserve. This covers not only the natural sciences, but also in math, english, spanish and art.

On a recent Earth Day, the Nature Lab was a key component in a project that brought hundreds of sixth grade and high school students to the preserve. Stefanie and her fellow Environmental Science students led programs at 13 stations they’d set up. This helped students expand their understanding and appreciation for the role the preserve plays in sustaining a healthy environment.

Stefanie’s and her fellow students’ work has also been instrumental in safeguarding the ecological integrity of the Preserve. As development pressures in her area have increased, some land preserves have gone the way of the bulldozer. But by underscoring the value of the Preserve in terms of both its ecological and educational functions, the Hidden Valley Nature Lab has helped guarantee the future of one of New Fairfield’s and our state’s major assets.

For her successes in creating and coordinating programs that bring people closer to nature, and help them better understand its vital processes, Aquarion is delighted to name Stefanie Milovic as Aquarion’s 2015 Environmental Champion in the student category.