On June 20, 2023, Aquarion Water Company celebrated the four winners of New Hampshire's 2023 Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards during a ceremony at the Great Bay Discovery Center in Greenland, NH. Annually, the Environmental Champion Awards recognize organizations and individuals in the business, non-profit, adult, and student categories.
Hypertherm Associates, a company that measures success through its positive impact on the world, has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability and community service. Since the inception of their Community Service Time program in 2003, the company's associates have collectively contributed 250,000 hours to community service.
The company is dedicated to achieving four ambitious environmental goals by 2030. These goals aim to reduce resource consumption, become carbon neutral in global operations, and halve the carbon impact of Hypertherm products in use. Hypertherm believes that these goals will protect the environment while benefitting their business and customers.
In 2021, Hypertherm Associates finalized these 2030 environmental goals, demonstrating their continued focus on environmental stewardship. The company recognizes that nearly every aspect of their business affects the environment, and they are committed to protecting and enriching the environment for current and future generations.
Hypertherm Associates has also implemented a Return-to-Recycle Pilot Program to reduce waste and foster a circular economy. They have purchased Green-e Certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset energy use in their North American facilities, resulting in a decrease in their direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. The company plans to accelerate the purchase of these credits to offset 100% of their global energy usage by 2024. Furthermore, they have initiated measures to reduce their non-renewable fuel use and absolute electricity usage.
Responsible corporate citizenship is deeply embedded in every aspect of Hypertherm Associates' business. Their commitment to creating shared value, which began with their founding principles, continues to guide their actions and decisions as they look to the future.
NH Lakes is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of New Hampshire's lakes. The organization works with a growing number of individuals and partners to address the two most significant threats to the state's lakes: aquatic invasive plants and animals, and polluted water runoff.
Aquatic invasive species infestations can make recreational activities in and on lakes, ponds, and rivers dangerous and unpleasant. These invasive species spread by attaching themselves to boats, trailers, and recreational gear that has not been properly cleaned, drained, and dried. The impacts of these infestations are far-reaching, disrupting the ecological balance, reducing shoreline property values, and making recreational use less enjoyable. Once established, these infestations are difficult and expensive to control.
For over 20 years, NH Lakes has been running the Lake Host Program, educating the boating public about the steps they can take to prevent the spread of unwanted aquatic species. Through the LakeSmart Lake-Friendly Living Program, NH Lakes also teaches property owners how to prevent polluted water from running off their land into the lakes.
Every summer, over 300 volunteer Lake Hosts greet the boating public at many of the busiest boat ramps throughout the state, providing a critical first line of defense against the spread of aquatic invasive species. The goal of the NH Lakes Aquatic Invasive
Species (AIS) Spread Prevention Program is to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive aquatic plants and animals in New Hampshire’s lakes and ponds through public outreach.
Since 2002, through the Lake Host Program, NH Lakes has provided courtesy boat and trailer inspections for more than 1.4 million boaters at the busiest boat ramps in the state. These inspections have resulted in the removal of over 1,656 specimens of hitchhiking invasive species and have educated boaters about the clean, drain, and dry approach for preventing the spread of invasive species. The NH Lakes Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Program aims to prevent the transport of aquatic invasive species into water bodies, intercept AIS coming out of infested water bodies, and increase awareness about AIS and spread prevention practices.
NH Lakes’ significant contributions to preserving the health and beauty of New Hampshire's lakes are a testament to the power of community engagement and environmental stewardship.
Sarah Slater-Sosa is a distinguished environmental leader and educator, recognized for her unwavering commitment to sustainability. As a founding leader of the Society of Sustainable Spartans (SOSS) at White Mountains Regional High School (WMRHS), she has guided students in achieving significant waste and energy reductions. Her initiatives include the replacement of traditional lights with energy-efficient LEDs, the implementation of a paper recycling program, and the establishment of a composting program.
In addition to these efforts, Slater-Sosa has played a crucial role in organizing annual Earth Day celebrations, inspiring and educating students on environmental issues. As an environmental teacher, she has advocated for the protection of the local environment, leading the Outdoor Learning Spaces project and collaborating with local conservation committees to plan a regional Sustainable Culture event.
Beyond her environmental leadership, Slater-Sosa has a diverse background in education, science, and leadership roles. She currently serves as a certified Life Sciences and Physical Science teacher, the Science Department Head, and a member of the Building Leadership Team at WMRHS. She also co-advises the Sustainability Club and coaches the JV Girls Soccer team.
Before joining WMRHS, Slater-Sosa taught at Colebrook Academy and gained international experience as a Scientific Advisor in Medical Education at MultiLearning Group and a Research Assistant at the Lady Davis Institute in Montreal.
Slater-Sosa's academic achievements include a Master’s degree in Public Health and a Master’s degree in Education Leadership in Curriculum Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. She also studied Education at Keene State College and completed independent studies in Geology, Earth Science, and Environmental Science at Concordia University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry.
Her leadership and commitment have positively impacted both White Mountains Regional High School and the wider community, demonstrating her dedication to fostering a sustainable future.
acob McDaniel, a remarkable student from Bow High School in Bow, NH, has consistently demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and a deep commitment to community service. With plans to attend the University of New Hampshire next year, Jacob's future is as promising as his high school career has been impressive.
Academically, Jacob is a well-rounded scholar with a keen interest in both STEM and Humanities fields. His teachers have lauded his analytical thinking, describing it as "impeccably accurate," and have praised him as an "excellent student." Jacob's motivation and self-direction are evident in his academic journey. He has successfully completed a variety of course formats, from traditional in-person classes to independent self-directed and online learning. His passion for knowledge is so profound that, despite having enough credits to graduate a year early, he chose to challenge himself further by taking four AP classes in his senior year.
Jacob's engagement with his community is as impressive as his academic achievements. He doesn't merely participate in activities for resume-building; instead, he chooses to invest his time in projects that align with his passions. A prime example of this is his extensive volunteer work with the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, NH. As part of the Harris Center's Amphibian Brigade Team, Jacob has dedicated countless nighttime hours to help amphibians safely cross roads to their breeding areas during spring rainy nights in the Monadnock region of NH. His efforts have resulted in the rescue of over 120 amphibians!
Jacob's love for the environment extends beyond his work with the Amphibian Brigade. Whether he's participating in beach cleanups, removing invasive plant species around his school, or volunteering at the SPCA, Jacob's community involvement is always purposeful and impactful. His comfort and confidence in environmental work are palpable, and his contributions to his community are a testament to his dedication and passion. Jacob McDaniel is not just an outstanding student, but also a committed environmental steward and community volunteer.
See our list of past Environmental Champion Award winners.View Winners