Smart’s Mill Middle School Teacher Natalie Pien and the Smart’s Mill Ecology Club Receive 2011 Tolbert Environmental Achievement Awards
Leesburg, VA (March 17, 2011) – The Leesburg Environmental Advisory Commission (EAC) is pleased to announce the two recipients of the 2011 Tolbert Environmental Achievement Awards. This awards program recognizes students, community groups, and individuals that conduct or participate in activities that benefit the Town’s environment. The Leesburg Town Council will present the awards at the Council Meeting on Tuesday, April 26, 2011.
The first 2011 Tolbert Award recipient is Natalie Pien. Ms. Pien is a science teacher at Smart’s Mill Middle School in Leesburg and sponsors the school’s Ecology Club.
The EAC selected Mrs. Pien for her exemplary leadership and for her dedication to community service on environmental projects. Ms. Pien has led innovative environmental stewardship projects at Smart’s Mill Middle School to treat polluted runoff before it enters Town streams and to create wildlife habitats. These projects give students hands-on learning experiences about the effects of pollution of the local environment. In addition, Ms. Pien volunteers her service on the Leesburg Watershed Committee, assisted on several additional Town planting events to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff, and monitors local stream quality.
The second recipient of the 2011 Tolbert Award is the Smart’s Mill Middle School Ecology Club. These students helped with several projects in the Town of Leesburg that protect the environment and beautify the town. Examples of their work can be seen in the Freedom Park rain garden; the flower and shrub plantings at what was a grassy island at the entrance to the middle school; and in the recently-planted riparian buffer along Town Branch. Over the past several years, Ecology Club students have donated many hours to these projects as well as to environmental education outreach efforts in the local community. In one of their outreach efforts, the Club demonstrated the effects of water pollution through the use of watershed models.
“The Environmental Advisory Commission is very pleased to recognize Ms. Pien and the Ecology Club for their efforts,” said Neely Law, chair of the Leesburg Environmental Advisory Commission. “We sincerely appreciate their time and effort to make a difference that benefits the community and the environment specifically. Their efforts will be seen and appreciated long into the future.”
The EAC and the Leesburg Town Council held a ceremony to present these two awards on Tuesday, April 26, 2011.