2016 Environmental Excellence Award Recipients
County Employee Award:
John Houser is the park manager for Occoquan Regional Park—he is being recognized for his environmental stewardship efforts that go well above and beyond the expectations of his position. The nomination that was submitted for Mr. Houser highlights his leadership efforts in support of cleanup events held by Friends of the Occoquan and his ability to mobilize and energize volunteers in support of efforts to enhance the Occoquan River. His nomination states: “The vitality that John brought to the Regional Park is reflected in the activities of several community organizations that he supports. John has been able to carry the environmental message, making this area an example for the region and the nation.”
Randy Sales is “an exemplary volunteer for Clean Fairfax for several years,” according to his nomination. He has removed trash and illegally-placed signs from a route that he has driven early in the morning several times each week, and he has carefully documented what he has collected. Clean Fairfax estimates that, in 2015, he picked up over 800 bags of trash and over 1,200 illegally-placed signs. He has also recycled the metal stands, wooden stakes and cardboard from the signs that he has collected. His nomination states: “There are many residents of Fairfax County who are passionate about keeping the county clean, green and sustainable, but few follow through with Herculean efforts like Mr. Sayles. . . . Clean Fairfax has many dedicated volunteers, Mr. Sayles is heads and shoulders and heart above all others.”
Rebuild Warehouse is a nonprofit, charitable organization that was founded in 2008 by individuals who seized upon an opportunity to: reduce volumes of waste generated from building demolition and renovation; provide the community with low-cost, recycled building materials; provide education to the public on affordable and sustainable living; and provide “green-collar” jobs and training to individuals who might otherwise have difficulty finding employment. The nomination for this organization states: “By providing recycled, discounted building materials to people, ReBuild is providing those who would otherwise be unable to afford these products with a great opportunity as well as preventing perfectly functional materials from going to the landfill. By creating a training program for hard-to-place workers, ReBuild is creating a whole new group of environmentally invested people who may otherwise be without a job. In providing trainings for the public, ReBuild is raising environmental awareness across the county, but they're not just teaching people which practices are harmful - they're teaching solutions.” The nomination concludes that “the amount of good that this local organization is doing for environmental awareness in Fairfax County is impressive and undeniable.”
Town of Vienna Community Enhancement Commission As highlighted in its award nomination, the commission's Commission’s environmental initiatives go well beyond its stated purpose “to develop, promote and coordinate voluntary efforts to improve the appearance of the commercial, industrial, public and residential areas of the Town and educate citizens about environmental initiatives to benefit and enhance the Town.” The nomination cites a wealth of initiatives of the organization, including, but not limited to:
- The Town of Vienna’s Eco-Efficient Homes Initiative, which provides recognition to homebuilders, architects, remodelers, homeowners and renters who further energy. efficiency and high indoor air quality in homes.
- The town’s Sustainable Home/Garden/Business Tour.
- The town’s Earth Day event.
- The “Ivy Free Vienna” initiative through which town residents are educated about, and mobilized to remove, invasive ivy.
- Support for the Tree Vienna Donation Program, which provides funding for the planting of trees on town property and provides education on the value of trees.
- Native plant sales.
- Assumption of programs begun by others, including efforts supporting the Virginia Municipal League’s “Go Green Virginia,” initiative, support for green restaurant certifications and the town’s annual Green Expo.
- Initiation of a successful proposal to strengthen tree canopy requirements for new homes and subdivisions.
- Support for expansion of recycling opportunities.
- Support for a new “Environment and Sustainability” chapter for the town’s Comprehensive Plan.
- Support for homeowner installation of solar energy systems through the Solarize Vienna program.
Booz Allen Hamilton is a management consulting, technology and engineering firm with its international headquarters in Tysons. The firm’s nomination emphasizes its commitment to sustainability with its operations, employees and community. Highlights include:
- A sustainability commitment statement signed and endorsed by the firm’s Chief Executive Officer.
- An Environmental Management System to improve sustainability targets and to track progress on reduction in the firm’s carbon footprint.
- A Sustainability Council with representatives from all operational areas of the firm.
- Employee volunteer Green Office Teams.
- Leasing of ENERGY STAR and LEED®-certified buildings.
- Support for recycling and other environmental enhancement efforts above minimum requirements within leased buildings.
- Recycling of electronic waste.
- Ongoing reductions in electrical consumption through an aggressive “Turn it Off” program.
- Donation of excess furniture to relief organizations.
- Conversion of paper-based processes to electronic processes, resulting in a substantial reduction in the use of paper.
- Donation of excess office supplies to area schools and nonprofit organizations.
- Other sustainability initiatives in the community.
- Dedication of expertise to the Tysons Sustainability Council.
Freedic Mac is a public government-sponsored enterprise with its headquarters in Tysons. The firm’s nomination highlights a range of environmental initiatives, with an emphasis on the firm’s recycling and food waste efforts. With respect to recycling, the nomination notes that the firm has run a successful program for 13 years, with expansions occurring to the program in each year of its existence such that the firm is collecting and recycling materials well beyond what is established in county requirements. The nomination indicates that, over the past three years, the firm has recycled over 2,226 tons of material, saving over $656,000 in disposal fees. Participation in recycling by employees has been strengthened through the establishment of a Green Campus Committee focusing on employee awareness and participation.
With respect to food waste, the firm’s nomination highlights composting efforts in the firm’s cafés that began in 2014. A dehydrator machine was purchased in 2015 in order to convert food waste into compostable material, which is available for purchase at the firm’s café shops. Additional compost is used in an herb garden that has been established by the firm.
Other environmental initiatives highlighted in the nomination include:
- Tracking of energy use and reductions in energy use/carbon footprint through a number of energy efficiency initiatives, resulting in a savings of over 40% in energy consumption within a six-year period.
- Promotion of awareness and sustainable practices through an annual Earth Day Fair and E-Waste to Work Days.
- Twice-yearly e-waste removal services for employees, resulting in the collection of over 46 tons of material over the last three years.
- Landscaping efforts incorporating the planting of native plants, the retention of native wooded areas, an irrigation system using a rain gauge to reduce potable water use and recycling of grass clippings and leaves into mulch.
- Promotion of a range of alternatives to single occupancy vehicle commuting.
Katherine Edwards has been Fairfax County’s Wildlife Management Specialist since joining the county workforce in 2014. While Dr. Edwards is relatively new to the county, her nomination attests to how she “has worked tirelessly to enhance the safety and effectiveness of [the county’s Deer Management Program], providing a high level of environmental service with limited resources” and how her professionalism, hard work, grace under pressure and positive attitude have served to enhance this program.
One of Dr. Edwards’ first initiatives was an internal audit of the safety of the program through which she compiled years of data into a report that identified program deficiencies. She presented her report individually to each member of the Board of Supervisors, and the nomination notes how her efforts led to an increased confidence among board members in the existing program and to a series of productive conversations about the importance of the program and its future. The program audit identified a deficiency in field data needed to support inclusion of individual parks in the program, and she has since led an ambitious effort to better document deer densities in county parks.
Dr. Edwards’ nomination also highlights her interest, attention and sensitivity to outreach to community members and elected officials and her understanding of both the complexities of deer management in urban areas and the range of viewpoints about deer management. She is dedicated to soliciting and considering the full range of perspectives on deer management and in listening to the concerns of all stakeholders. She has also continued efforts begun by her predecessor, including the completion of a 4-Poster Pilot Study.