For the 10th year in a row, students in Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech's Environmental Science/Technology program visited the State House to receive the Secretary's Award for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education.

The students were awarded for their project "Sunflowers for Soil Remediation." They were among 33 programs from Massachusetts that were honored by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton.

“Hands-on energy and environmental educational programs improve students’ problem-solving skills and create lifelong passions for science and the environment,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration is proud to recognize the students, teachers and nonprofits raising awareness and coming up with creative solutions to our pressing energy and environmental issues.”

“These educators are engaging students in real-world environmental and energy issues and bringing topics they learn in the classroom to life,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The programs recognized today are developing students who will make a positive and lasting impact on their communities, schools and the environment.”

Winners competed for $5,000 in awards, funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust with the intention to fund further environmental education initiatives at the schools. EEA solicited Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education Award nominations in early 2017. Schools and organizations that voluntarily incorporate environmental education into public or private school curricula are given priority.

“The outstanding educational programs honored today immerse students in important issues like energy, recycling and wildlife conservation,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beaton. “It is more important than ever that we teach the next generation the importance of preserving and protecting our natural resources.”

The project applications were scored by the Secretary's Advisory Group on Energy and Environmental Education, a group of environmental educators from state agencies, non-profits, industry and academia.

“Not only are these schools teaching students important lessons about protecting the environment, they are also providing them with valuable knowledge and skills in STEM subjects that could spark their future career choices,” said Education Secretary James Peyser.

--Energy and Environmental Affairs release