Leaders in environmental protection, advocacy, and sustainability awarded for their achievements
HAMPTON, NH – August 8, 2022 – On August 4, 2022, Aquarion Water Company celebrated the four winners of its 2022 Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards during a ceremony at the Victoria Inn in Hampton. Since 2013, the Environmental Champion Awards has recognized organizations and individuals in the business, non-profit, adult, and student categories that are dedicated to preserving the state's natural resources and adopting sustainable practices to protect the local environment.
"We're inspired by the advocates who passionately devote their time and resources to environmental conservation, which is a vital undertaking for the state's future," said Carl McMorran, Aquarion's New Hampshire Operations Manager. "Aquarion is proud to celebrate this year's Environmental Champions for their accomplishments in protecting and preserving New Hampshire's waterways, land, and wildlife habitats."
The winners of the 2022 Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards are:
A Place to Grow – Brentwood, NH
Established in 2005, A Place to Grow, LLC is a nature-based childcare center in Brentwood. A Place to Grow is the only school in the state with two Nature Explore-Certified outdoor classrooms. It is also a registered Monarch Waystation – a rest area for Monarch butterflies migrating between Mexico and Canada – and a certified Eco-Healthy Child Care® center. The school has undertaken numerous sustainable practices and energy efficiency initiatives to make the facility more environmentally friendly, such as installing energy-efficient air source heat pumps and LED lighting and utilizing 44 solar panels on the property to power nearly all of its annual electricity use. Additionally, A Place to Grow is working with a licensed forest ecologist to develop walking trails across its 13 acres of land, which can be used by children attending the school. Students at A Place to Grow are surrounded by sustainable practices and learn to appreciate and care for the environment as part of their education at an early age.
Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation – Hampton/Portsmouth, NH
Working to improve environmental quality since 2001, Blue Ocean Society strives to protect marine life in the Gulf of Maine through research, education, and inspiring action. Blue Ocean Society researches local fin, humpback, and minke whales; educates people about marine life and human impacts through beach and marine cleanups, whale watches, and school programs. Blue Ocean Society inspires action through pollution prevention campaigns and by encouraging simple behavior changes to benefit the environment. Blue Ocean Society's annual whale watch trips have helped to educate thousands of individuals and document hundreds of whales. In 2021, Blue Ocean Society also led over 240 beach cleanups from southern Maine to northern Massachusetts, during which volunteers picked up more than 70,000 pieces of litter weighing over 3,000 pounds. To date, the organization has also hosted more than 135,000 visitors at the Blue Ocean Discovery Center – the first marine education facility in Hampton Beach offering educational programs to schools throughout New England. In addition, Blue Ocean Society has a robust internship program. It has hosted more than 150 interns, with a large percentage being female. Many have gone on to pursue careers in STEM fields.
Deborah Alberts, Greenland, NH
For several years, Deborah Alberts has served as chair of the Great Bay Stewards, a Greenland nonprofit whose mission is to protect and conserve the Great Bay estuarine ecosystem. In this role, she has been a tireless advocate for research, conservation, stewardship, and education around Great Bay. Last year, Deborah helped launch and administer the organization's Tide Turner program, which encouraged residents to commit to making minor changes to their homes and yards to improve the estuary's health and overall environment. Additionally, Deborah enlisted local greenhouses to donate materials to the Great Bay Stewards' Estuary Inclusion Garden and spent hours planting herbs and flowers in a sensory portion of the garden. Along with her chairperson duties, Deborah helps with mulching and raking during cleanup days at the Great Bay Community Wildlife Garden, selling raffle tickets at Art of Great Bay, and advocating for the Bay's protection everywhere she goes.
Wesley D. Stocken – Hanover, NH
Wesley Stocken, a 2022 graduate of Hanover High School, uses his passion for the outdoors to benefit his local community and the environment. Wesley took on his first improvement project at age 11 when an infestation of an invasive and poisonous plant, wild parsnip, spread across his neighborhood. Wesley coordinated with the Town of Hanover to remove the harmful plants and provide native plants with room to grow. Over the past several years, Wesley's love of nature has provided an escape from increased screen time associated with virtual classes. To spend more time outside, Wesley devoted his efforts to maintaining local hiking trails and building mountain biking paths using reclaimed wood. In addition, Wesley enjoys educating his community about the importance of protecting the environment. He frequently works with residents to create art pieces using recycled materials and recently launched a classroom initiative to raise awareness about rhinoceros conservation efforts.
To learn more about Aquarion's 2022 Environmental Champions, please visit www.aquarionwater.com/awards.
Aquarion Water Company is the public water supply company for more than 750,000 people in 72 cities and towns in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It is the largest investor-owned water utility in New England and among the seven largest in the U.S. Based in Bridgeport, CT, Aquarion has been in the public water supply business since 1857. Across its operations, Aquarion strives to act as a responsible steward of the environment and to assist the communities it serves in promoting sustainable practices. Aquarion Water Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eversource.