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A group of Portsmouth students has been awarded The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA), a prestigious national award that recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects developed by K-12 youth, according to a press release from the Eastern RI Conservation District & Portsmouth AgInnovation Farm.

Their winning project is the establishment of the Portsmouth AgInnovation Farm, a student-driven, community farm program where kids learn about sustainable agriculture with hands-on problem-solving experiences. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people for protecting our nation’s air, water, land, and ecology.

The AgInnovation Farm program is a partnership with Portsmouth Middle School and ERICD and is located at Cloverbud Ranch. AgInnovation student, Anabella Barber, said, “AgInnovation is an amazing learning environment. What makes it appealing is that everyone has the option to choose what activity they want to take part in on the farm. Whether it’s helping with irrigation, building new tables for the schoolhouse, or just hanging out with the chickens, everyone is participating in something they truly enjoy.”

The students are trying to make their way to Washington D.C. for the EPA’s award ceremony on August 4 to accept the award. Eastern RI Conservation District (ERICD) & Portsmouth AgInnovation Farm says that “The Grand Hyatt has graciously offered a reduced lodging rate and the students have elected to take the train to DC to reduce costs. A fundraising goal of $5,000 has been set to cover transport and lodging”.

AgInnovation parent, Monica DeAngelis said, “Some of our student winners have never been to Washington, DC, so in addition to attending the award ceremony, they also hope to take in some of the sights and sounds of the city.” She added, “This award is a huge deal, not only for the kids, but for the area; we want the students to have the opportunity to represent our community at the ceremony.”

The students being recognized are Tatum Brennan, Maggie Mullen, Brooke O’Brien, Noah Sidewand, Owen Sidewand, Anabella Barber, Rowen Willet, Stella McInerney, Aurelius Brockman, Elle McFadden, Elizabeth Lantz, Fiona Sarro, Olivia Purdy, Olivia Almilli, and Cameron Davis.

For more information and to support the students, visit www.easternriconservation.org/award.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.

He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.