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The City of Encinitas Environmental Commission is proud to announce winners of its prestigious Environmental Award Program (EAP), now in its sixth year.   The EAP seeks to recognize deserving individuals, businesses, and non-profits for their commitment to environmental stewardship and outstanding environmental achievements in the city.  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 in 2019 to recognize both an adult and a youth that are not necessarily affiliated with a business or non-profit organization. 

The 2020 winner of the Excellence in Environmental Stewardship Non-profit Organization category is the 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 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 also works with the City of Encinitas to maintain the natural areas around Cottonwood Creek Park, and serves as a world class plant conservation and education institution right in the heart of Encinitas.

The 2020 winner of the Excellence in Environmental Stewardship For-profit Business category is 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 have the opportunity to dig deep into water pollution issues through BCK’s popular SWPPP Internship Program.  The program has instructed thousands of Encinitas students with the hope that they become informed Encinitas citizens passionate about protecting the environment.

The 2020 winner of the Environmental Hero, Youth (under 18) category is Danny Sheehan.  Danny is a volunteer with the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP) at Paul Ecke Elementary school and an active monitor of our local Marine Protection Act.  He is an accomplished surfer and is passionate about protecting the natural beauty of our 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.  Danny has demonstrated environmental consciousness well beyond his young years. 

The 2020 winner of the Environmental Hero, Adult category is Torrey Neel. Torrey has been involved with the California Native Plants Society, where she demonstrates an increased awareness on the importance of native plants to our California ecosystem. Prior to starting a native plant nursery in Leucadia, Torrey 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.

The awards will be presented at the City Council meeting on April 14, 2021 in honor of Earth Day, April 25th.

The Encinitas’ Environmental Award Program is the first award of its kind in San Diego County and is one of few in the United States. For more information about the City of Encinitas Environmental Commission’s Award Program: Environmental Award Program History and Past Winners