Encinitas seeks nominations for its 2021 Environmental Award Program

Encinitas sign
(Karen Billing)

The City of Encinitas Environmental Commission recently announced the opening of nominations for its prestigious Environmental Award Program (EAP), now in its seventh year, according to a news release. The EAP seeks to recognize deserving individuals, businesses, and nonprofits for their commitment to environmental stewardship and outstanding environmental achievements in the city.

Encinitas sign
(Karen Billing)

Two Excellence in Environmental Stewardship awards have been historically granted to a for-profit business and a nonprofit business each year since the program’s founding in 2014 by Environmental Commissioners Jim Wang and Joy Lyndes. In 2019, under the leadership of Environmental Commissioners Christian Adams and Inge Bisconer, a new Environmental Hero category was added to recognize both an adult and a youth that are not necessarily affiliated with a business.

The deadline to submit nominations for the 2021 award program is Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, by 11:59 p.m.

The 2020 Environmental Award Program winners were announced by Mayor Catherine Blakespear at the April 28, 2021, City Council meeting via ZOOM. Awardees were invited to speak and show their recycled glass trophies at the beginning of the meeting. The awards were made by Winner’s Awards.

Environmental Hero Award, Adult category – Torrey Neel

Torrey Neel has been involved with the California Native Plants Society, where she demonstrates an increased awareness on the importance of native plants to the California ecosystem. Prior to starting a native plant nursery in Leucadia, Neel would start seeds and place them out for members of the Encinitas community to plant for free. She has volunteered at the San Diego Botanic Garden, and her inspiration has meant much to both people and the all-important natural environment.

Environmental Hero Award, Youth (under 18) category – Danny Sheehan

Danny Sheehan is a volunteer with the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP) at Paul Ecke Elementary School and an active monitor of the local Marine Protection Act. He is an accomplished surfer and is passionate about protecting the natural beauty of the ocean environment and reversing the damage already caused by humans. On many occasions he has confronted and successfully convinced older youth to stop destructive actions to sea life. Sheehan has demonstrated environmental consciousness well beyond his young years.

Excellence in Environmental Stewardship, For-profit Business – BCK Programs

BCK instructors train public elementary school students as young as kindergarteners how to sort their lunchtime waste and compost food scraps, and run programs in recycling, energy conservation, air pollution and litter prevention. In the middle schools, BCK has worked diligently with students to create a 75% diversion rate, and students from 5th grade to 12th grade are given the opportunity to dig deep into water pollution issues through BCK’s popular SWPPP (Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan) Internship Program. The program has instructed thousands of Encinitas students with the hope that they become informed Encinitas citizens passionate about protecting the environment.

Excellence in Environmental Stewardship, Non-profit Business – San Diego Botanic Garden

Now in its 50th year, San Diego Botanic Garden is the preeminent plant conservation institute of the region, and one of the most important botanic gardens in the country. The San Diego Botanic Garden educates over 1,000 students per year through formal programs, with special focus on field trips and classroom support for Title 1 and other underserved schools in Encinitas and San Diego County. The Garden serves as a world-class plant conservation and education institution right in the heart of Encinitas and works with the city to maintain the natural areas around Cottonwood Creek Park.

Encinitas’ Environmental Award Program is the first award of its kind in San Diego County and is one of few in the United States.

Nominate an individual or a business in Encinitas wit the 2021 Environmental Award Program Nomination Form. Go to