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Press Release

Barbara Laskin

This press release is from Mayor Coleman's office

Mayor Presents Second Sustainable Saint Paul Awards
to Local Leaders in Environmental Action

Schools, students, individuals, community organization receive recognition

SAINT PAUL – April 16, 2008 – Following the recognition the City’s first environmental stewardship and action awards brought to recipients in 2007, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and the City Council presented the City’s second Sustainable Saint Paul Awards on Wednesday. Mayor Coleman established the Sustainable Saint Paul Awards to honor outstanding achievements of individuals, businesses and organization that are protecting and restoring the environment in Saint Paul. 

“Combating climate change and demonstrating environmental stewardship requires leaders on the local level,” Mayor Coleman said. “The people and organizations recognized this year show that these local efforts collectively make a large impact. I am happy to be giving these awards to people and efforts that continue to make Saint Paul a national leader on environmental policy.”

The awards pay tribute to individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental stewardship through leadership in their respective categories. By sponsoring these awards, Mayor Coleman hopes to encourage all residents, businesses, community groups and non-profits in Saint Paul to implement similar projects.  Replication of these efforts will further enhance the City’s quality of life and make Saint Paul the Most Livable City in America.

Mayor Coleman has taken bold action to make Saint Paul one of the greenest cities in the country.  Under Mayor Coleman, the city has its first Sustainability Coordinator as well as the first Energy Coordinator and Water Resource Coordinator. Mayor Coleman has committed the city to reducing CO2 emissions by 1 million tons yearly. He also has committed the city to investing $1 million over the next three years into an Energy Conservation Investment Fund to retrofit and build city-owned buildings with energy efficient systems. In December, the City also opened its first LEED-certified building, the Western District Police Station.  

2008 Sustainable Saint Paul Award Winners:
Energy Efficiency Award:  Macalester College
The students, faculty, staff, and administration at Macalester College have taken a leadership role conserving energy by instituting environmental policies, building green buildings, and creatively financing projects.  The college is building “green buildings” including the renovated EcoHouse student residence and has creatively financed energy projects through the Clean Energy Revolving Fund.

Water Quality or Conservation Award:  Saint Paul Parks & Recreation Department Environmental Services Staff
The Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department’s environmental services staff – Adam Robbins, Nate Johnson, and Meghan Manhattan – works with the community to protect and restore the City’s valuable natural areas and goes that extra mile to involve and educate the public on environmental stewardship. An example of their remarkable dedication occurred following the serious windstorm in August 2007 when they initiated and organized a storm clean-up late into the evening hours for several days – and for many weekends afterward – to save the shoreline planting around Como Lake. 

Transportation Options:  Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour
The Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour attracts more than 7,000 riders annually to the City’s bike-friendly system of streets and trails, exposing individuals to options beyond driving.  The Tour increases their awareness of the Capital City’s parks and open spaces as well as their familiarity with the entire City, including local businesses, all while they practice safe cycling habits in an urban setting. The Bike Classic strives to have an impact beyond the one-day event by educating all participants on opportunities to get involved with environmentalism and to incorporate sustainable practices into their daily lives.

Commercial Green Building Design:  Gordon Parks High School
Saint Paul Public Schools transformed a former 3M manufacturing site with contaminated soils into an attractive and green alternative high school in Gordon Parks High School. The thoughtful design includes transit accessibility, energy efficiency, good indoor air quality, sound stormwater management, use of regional and local materials, and low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials.  The students, formerly educated in rented space in the Unidale Mall, now have a beautiful, inspiring, and green environment in which to learn.

Waste Reduction and Recycling:  Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
Less than 20 percent of unwanted cell phones are recycled, despite the fact that cell phones are made from copper, plastics, precious metals, and minerals, all of which can be recycled and adapted to different uses. Mining of columbite-tanalite, one key element in cell phones, also is contributing to decimation of the critically endangered Eastern Lowland Gorilla. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, in partnership with Saint Paul Public Libraries, recycled 1,525 boxes of cell phones, chargers and batteries and earned $2,234 to support orangutan conservation while keeping toxic substances such as arsenic, antimony, cadmium, cobalt, lead, and zinc out of the landfills. 

Green Spaces Award:  Community of Peace Academy
Community of Peace Academy is the first school facility in Saint Paul with a green roof and, more importantly, it will be a green roof that is accessible to school children as part of their environmental science teaching. In addition to being a living classroom, the green roof will help manage and clean stormwater runoff, and provide thermal insulation to the structure, thereby lowering heating and cooling costs.  The 13-year-old East Side school also incorporated a number of other green components in its construction project including adaptive reuse of an existing space, high efficiency lighting, occupancy sensors, operable windows, low VOC finishes, shared parking, reduced construction waste, and recycled materials.

Environmental Education and Awareness Award:  Eco Education
Eco Education gives Saint Paul teachers and their students the knowledge and tools to actively participate in environmental issues that directly affect the health and vitality of their Saint Paul Neighborhoods.  Eco Education uses in-depth environmental education programs taught by classroom teachers who are trained and supported in their classrooms by Eco Ed staff of experienced educators.  Students have the opportunity to learn about the urban ecosystem, explore their urban neighborhoods, learn about the environmental issues that are present, and develop the skills necessary to address one of those issues by designing and implementing their own action project that positively impact the environment.  Over the last five years, Eco Education has worked with more than 2,400 Saint Paul middle and high school students, making positive changes in their lives and the community

Youth Leadership AwardComo Park High School “Greeneyez” Environmental Club
The Como Park High School’s environmental club, “Greeneyez,” is comprised of passionate students committed to reducing energy use at their school and has challenged other Saint Paul High Schools to do likewise. Energy Wars is a multifaceted, creative, and fun effort to implement tangible energy-saving improvements at Como and other schools. Greeneyez also is working to convince the entire school district to switch to recycled paper and reduce the consumption of paper overall. The recycled paper initiative involved research and strategy development, and students are now preparing to make a presentation to the Saint Paul School Board.

Sustainable City Staff:  Larry Zangs, Department of Safety & Inspections
Over the past 20+ years, Larry has pursued comprehensive water resource management goals.  As new and tougher federal and state water quality regulations were adopted, Larry took it upon himself to become educated on the new laws and advocated that the City hire additional staff – such as a water resource coordinator – to address water quality regulations.  Most recently, Larry established an interagency and inter-departmental partnership to implement construction of a wetland/native prairie natural area on City property located at the intersection of Maryland Avenue and Johnson Parkway.  Larry was described in the application as “a hardworking Civil Servant who does his work without any fanfare or formal recognition.” 

For more information about Sustainable Saint Paul, go to and click on “City Projects.”