The Coast News Group

Encinitas names environment award winners

ENCINITAS — The city of Encinitas Environmental Commission has announced the winners of its Environmental Award Program (EAP), now in its fifth year, in partnership with The Surfing Madonna Oceans Project. The EAP recognizes deserving individuals, businesses and non-profits for their commitment to environmental stewardship and outstanding environmental achievements in Encinitas.

In addition to two Excellence in Environmental Stewardship awards that have been historically granted to a for-profit business and a non-profit organization each year, a new Environmental Hero category was created this year to recognize both an adult and a youth that are not necessarily affiliated with a business or non-profit organization.

The winner of the Environmental Hero Award, Youth (under 18) category is Elizabeth Hazard, an Encinitas native and 11th-grade honors student at San Dieguito Academy. She is making headlines in her work for a more natural world by working with the Nature Collective. At school, she is a recognized leader in native plant conservation and gardening. She created her school’s California Native Plant Club, which has secured back-to-back first place awards in the San Diego County Fair Ecke Jr. Garden Shows.

The winner of the Environmental Hero Award, Adult category, is Nita Gilson, founder of CropSwap and ProduceGood, at The Hive at the Leichtag Commons. The organization’s volunteers gather unwanted fruit and vegetables from farms and backyards and connects this otherwise wasted food with the needy. Since its inception, ProduceGood has recovered over 165 tons of produce, providing over one million meals for the hungry

The winner of the Excellence in Environmental Stewardship Non-profit Organization Award category is the Encinitas Ranch Community Association for its work to create one of the county’s largest recycled water projects (13.7 million gallons of water per year), for upgrading their irrigation system to state of the art automation and sensor technology, and for working with their landscape contractor to convert to battery powered landscape maintenance equipment.

The winner of the Excellence in Environmental Stewardship For-Profit Business Award category is the Inn at Moonlight Beach, having received the WELL Certification at the Platinum (highest) level. The Inn filters the air and water to its highest levels, the materials are reused and sustainable, a biodynamic urban farm generates its own compost and provides guests local foods, and the site has been remediated and the soil amended to prevent storm water runoff and soil erosion.

“What awesome work is being done in Encinitas,” said Kristen Victor, one of a panel of five judges for the awards and founder of San Diego based Sustainability Matters. ”I am fascinated with the projects and the people.”

The 2019 Environmental Hero Awards will be presented on-stage prior to the beginning of the Surfing Madonna Moonlight Beach Run at 1:15 p.m. Oct. 26. The 2019 Excellence in Environmental Stewardship awards will be given at The Encinitas Half Marathon, sponsored by Surfing Madonna, on March 29, 2020. Encinitas’ Environmental Award is the first award of its kind in San Diego County and is one of few in the United States.