Press Release

Gillibrand Announces EPA Environmental Champion Award Recipients From New York State

Apr 25, 2016

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, today announced six New York recipients of the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Environmental Champion Awards. Last March, Senator Gillibrand nominated NY Sun Works and Alexandra Ferguson, based in New York City, Christopher J. Gobler, based on Long Island, Sherri Mason, based in Western New York, Save the Rain, based in Central New York, and Dani Glaser, based in the Hudson Valley. These award recipients, nominated by Senator Gillibrand this past March, will be honored for their commitment to environmental protection through green initiatives.

“These environmental champions share a vision of improving New York State’s quality of life through renewable and eco-friendly initiatives,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. “I thank all the recipients for their commitment to making green and environmentally conscious initiatives a priority in the state and across the country.”

NY Sun Works is a non-profit organization that builds science labs in urban schools. Through their Greenhouse Project Initiative, NY Sun Works teaches students about agriculture and nutrition in addition to pollution, conservation techniques and climate change.

“What an incredible honor to be recognized by Senator Gillibrand and the EPA,” said Sidsel Robards, Director of Development and Events for NY Sun Works. “This is such an empowering endorsement of our work to educate students and teachers about the Science of Sustainability.”

Alexandra Ferguson is a pillow company that uses eco-friendly materials including recycled felt applique and poly-fill inserts.

“We’re so honored to be receiving the prestigious EPA Environmental Champion Award, and are grateful to Senator Gillibrand for nominating us,” said Alexandra Ferguson Clark, Founder and CEO of Alexandra Ferguson. “We have been using eco-friendly materials in the manufacturing of our home decor line for over seven years now, including felt and pillow inserts made from 100% recycled plastic bottles – re-purposing nearly a quarter million bottles a year. While eco materials were difficult to source when we first started, it has been really exciting to watch the technology develop and I look forward to continuing as a pioneer in bringing these materials to the marketplace in the form of highly coveted consumer products.”

At Stony Brook University, Professor of Marine and Atmospheric Studies Christopher J. Gobler researches plankton ecology and its effect on aquatic ecosystems.

 “As a life-long resident of Long Island, raising awareness among the public and policymakers regarding water quality problems here and solutions to those problems has been a labor of love. It is a humbling honor to be recognized for those efforts,” said Christopher J. Gobler Stony Brook University, Professor of Marine and Atmospheric Studies.


Dr. Sherri Mason, an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at SUNY Fredonia, studies the high levels of microplastics in Lake Erie and the Great Lakes.


“I am deeply honored to be selected as a 2016 EPA Environmental Champion,” said Dr. Sherri Mason. “I greatly appreciate the thought and efforts put forth by Senator Gillibrand and her office in not only nominating me for this unexpected award, but more so in listening to the science and pushing for the national Microbead Free Water Act that was signed into law in December 2015. I am blessed to be able to do what I love, and even more so to have my work making an impact for the greater good. Considering all she gives us, the planet needs environmental champions and I am proud to be considered one, though I know I stand on the shoulders of a great many before me and hope to inspire others to follow in our footsteps.”


The Save the Rain program is a comprehensive storm water management plan run by Onondaga County to reduce pollution in Onondaga Lake.


“We appreciate being recognized by EPA as an Environmental Champion and thank Senator Gillibrand for nominating us,” said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  “Our Save the Rain program has been an integral part of reaching our water capture goals four years ahead of schedule.  These projects help slow down the flow of water into our system and enhance the surroundings where they are located.  We have enjoyed a strong relationship with EPA as we have progressed with our green infrastructure projects and this award is further proof that our approach is the right one.”


Dani Glaser, the creator and co-director of the Westchester Green Business Challenge (WGBC) and founder of Green Team Spirit (GTS), developed Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Tool initiative to help organizations measure, track and reduce negative environmental impacts over time.


“It is an honor to have been nominated by Senator Gillibrand and to be a recipient of the 2016 Environmental Champion Award from EPA Region 2 in recognition of my work with the Westchester Green Business program. Since 2009, over 300 Westchester County organizations have taken the Westchester Green Business Challenge and since 2014, 60 organizations have joined the rigorous Westchester Green Business Certification program. Twenty have achieved certification, helping to measurably reduce GHG emissions and grow the green economy in Westchester and the Hudson Valley region,” said Dani Glaser, Founder & CEO, Green Team Spirit, LLC.


The Environmental Champion Awards recognize individuals and organizations that have improved the environment and public health in EPA Region 2, which includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven federally-recognized Indian Nations. The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes achievements of individuals, non-profit organizations, businesses, government agencies and print & broadcast media. Winners will be presented with their awards on May 13th at a ceremony in New York City.