Winners will be notified by March 28th, 2020. Winners will be honored with an award on the main stage at the

Cincinnati Earth Day Celebration, which will be held on Saturday, April 25th, 2020 at Summit Park in Blue Ash.

The DEADLINE for the 2020 award is March 21, 2020

Do you know anyone whose efforts on behalf of the environment have made the Greater Cincinnati a better place to live?

       Well, the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition (GCEC) is looking for nominations in the following categories:

  • Volunteer - Nominee must be nominated for work done as a citizen/volunteer, not paid by a Business or Agency.
  • Business/Organization - Nominee work must be for a business as an employee or consultant.
  • Student - Nominee must be enrolled in K-12th grade or college. Work must be performed as student; clubs are acceptable.
  • Government - Nominee must work for a government agency.
  • Teacher- Nominee must be a teacher for K-12th grade, college, or day care. Home School is allowed.

2020 Annual Earth Day Awards  

2017 Earth Day Environmental Award Winners

2017 Volunteer Environmental Award -- Jennifer Ballard 

Jennifer Ballard is an eco warrior in her own right. She is a dedicated volunteer in this area and has even gone door-to-door to residents throughout the city to discuss residential recycling on a volunteer basis years ago, helping increase recycling participation. She currently volunteers for, facilitates, and manages the Northside Great American Clean-Up every year, picking up tons of trash and beautifying community space. Jennifer also volunteers weekly at North Avondale Montessori Elementary as a green mom; going to school once a week to educate students on what items can be recycled off of their lunch tray once they are done eating. She has volunteered for Keep Cincinnati Beautiful in the past, helping clean up other neighborhoods in our city. As a mother of two, Jennifer not only makes time for her community and for the betterment of our environment, but she also instills such values into her children, helping raise the next generation of eco-warriors. Her dedication to environmental causes through volunteering spans years, not only in her neighborhood, but Cincinnati at large, as well as in our education system. It is because of this dedication that Jennifer is the recipient of the 2017 Volunteer Environmental Award. Congratulations Jennifer and thank you for all that you do!

2017 Student Environmental Award -- Sophia Dovenbarger

A native to Greater Cincinnati, Sophia’s experience as an advocate for sustainability in high school eventually led to environmental activism in college. In 2014, Sophia coordinated a student trip to the People's Climate March in NYC and later that year, she traveled to Grand Isle, Louisiana where she worked with Grand Isle State Park and the Nature Conservancy on habitat restoration. This is where she became more familiar with issues facing gulf coast communities such as visitor use, land management and invasive species. Last year, Sophia took her environmental curiosity to an international level when she studied abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This is where she learned more about various tropical forest plant communities of the north in addition to ecological survival strategies. Her range of domestic and international experiences eventually led her into declaring her major in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at University of Kentucky. Sophia's concentration currently focuses on the societal pillar of the triple bottom line and this award recognizes her commitment to sustainability. Congratulations Sophia and thank you for all that you do!

2017 Teacher Environmental Award -- Kylie Johnson

Kylie is responsible for the LEED Platinum Certification of the Green Learning Station at the Civic Garden Center. It is the second highest scoring LEED project in Greater Cincinnati. It was her dedication and persistence that kept the project on track and her unwavering dedication to sustainability that inspired the team to achieve such a high level of U.S. Green Building Council certification. Congratulations Kylie and thank you for all that you do!

2017 Business Environmental Award -- Leslie Ratcliff

Aberlin Springs is a planned conservation community set among preserved forests and meadows reminiscent of communities of yesteryear, when life was simpler. It is inspired by the past and built for the future and is to be located in the heart of Warren County. The first agri-community in the region is a vision of builder Leslie Ratliff of Pendragon Homes. Leslie is converting her family’s 141-acre farm to a neighborhood which will offer farm to table living. An onsite farm store will provide residents with fresh in-season food and pasture raised meat grown at Aberlin and other local sources minimizing distance from farm to table via a Community-Supported-Agriculture (CSA) Program for the 141 family homes that will encircle the farm when completed. The community land plan of clustered building sites will maximize preservation of farmland and wooded terrain. This conservation community, will provide family’s a place to grow, restore and reconnect to the land that feeds them. Footpaths will make walking easier than driving. Home sites are designed to embrace neighborly connection. Advanced sewage treatment will keep the water on the land which will be a critical component to the infrastructure design of the community. All resident septic systems are to be tied to a common drip distribution leach field providing nutrients for the animal grazing pasture. All homes in the community will be set up with a geothermal heating and cooling systems. Lastly, all environmentally-friendly technologies will be encouraged. Congratulations Leslie and thank you for all that you do!

2017 Government Environmental Award -- Blue Ash Summit Park

Summit Park has over 130 acres open to the public; they host green events; they have a creative kids center; dog walking paths; free yoga exercise classes in the great lawn; walking trails; developing woodland nature preserve and even a farmers market.Type your paragraph here.

2016 Earth Day Environmental Award Winners, 

Volunteer - Chuck Lohre
Volunteer with several non profits organizations working to improve our earth. As a long time volunteer with the GCEC and Green Building council he is known as a long standing voice for nature and the sustainability movement. His contributions are innovative and countless.

Business/Organization -Cohen USA
Cohen Electronics Recycling is the region’s top electronic waste recycler. They hold a unique combination of third party certifications including, E‐Stewards, R2/RIOS and NAID, for environmental protection, worker health and safety, data privacy and facility security. Cohen has been an integral part of bringing the electronic waste issue to the forefront of our community. They work with many non‐ profits, for profits and municipalities to offer free e‐waste events to residents and businesses alike. Last year, the Players for the Planet event diverted nearly 200,000 lbs. of e‐waste from our regional landfills in a 3‐day period. Due to the high volume of e‐waste that was brought in, Cohen was able to write a check for $17,000 to the Reds Philanthropy Fund. In addition to their commitment to the community, Cohen is dedicated to the growing electronic waste issue, locally and globally. They are set to open their new electronic waste recycling center this spring. Their new sorting and shredding center will be one of the largest in North America, with the ability to process up to 20,000 pounds of e‐waste each hour.  Given our current recycling market, where it is legal and much cheaper to ship toxic e‐waste internationally to places where markets are not regulated, finding a company that focuses on doing the right thing is difficult. Luckily, we in the greater Cincinnati region have a company like Cohen, one that drives awareness, environmentalism, and social responsibility. That is why I am nominating Cohen USA for the Greater Cincinnati Environmental Award.  

Student - Kelsey Reichenbach
​She is an excellent student with a passion for sustainability. She planned the 2015 UC Sustainability summit and is one of the leaders of the campaign Fossil Free UC. She is very actively involved in student government and recycling initiatives on campus. She is a leader and ambassador for sustainability!

Government - Gerald Checco
Gerald is an inspiring government employee. He was just received the Xavier University Sustainability Heroes Award. Gerald started his career with the Parks Department and installed over 20 solar panel installations in the parks. His next position was with Public Services but when the MSD was faced with scrutiny, Mayor Cranley calle don Gerald to bring his “common sense” approach to problem solving. MSD has a very challenging role to play in mitigating the combined sewer overflows into the Ohio River and we should be glad that Gerald is in charge during this important time.

Teacher - Ishi Buffam
​He is an Assistant Professor in Biology and Environmental Studies. He is an Ecosystem Ecologist who does research ranging from climate change to green roofs. He uses a combination of field vegetation and soil surveys, lab‐based water and soil chemistry/biogeochemistry analysis, empirical modeling and GIS‐based modeling to evaluate the relationship between landscape/watershed characteristics and surface water chemistry and biotic communities. He uses many tools to educate and excite students about urban environmental issues such as, CSO’s and green roofs. 

2018 Earth Day Environmental Award Winners

Government - Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District -

Holly Christman and Sue Magnas,, Recycling Day in Northside, Wasted Movie Premier and Repair Fair

Student - Taylor Hicks - Miami University

Undergraduate studying social justice. Volunteered at 2017 Earth Day event. Co-founder and coordinator of the Miami green squad student created community which is a living learning community to promote sustainability education. As coordinator she organizes and plans various activities like farmers market visits, eco trivia night, repurposed materials projects.

Teacher - Stephanie Carter 

She is a homeschool teacher who incorporates environmental sustainability into the teaching to the students. Courses include 1) gardening, 2) composting, 3) prevention of food waste, 4) eating and buying locally, 5) grass feeding animals. The courses are in a classroom and as well as hands-on.

Business -  L'Oréal USA

Announced its plans to achieve carbon neutrality in 2019 for all 21 of its U.S. manufacturing and distribution facilities with a financially sustainable approach that could potentially serve as a model to support new renewable natural gas (RNG) projects in the future. In order to reach this milestone, L'Oréal USA is adding to its diversified energy portfolio with RNG purchased from a new processing facility in Kentucky. The company currently has 17 renewable energy installations across the country, including large on-site solar arrays in Arkansas, New Jersey and Kentucky as well as wind turbines in Texas. The RNG purchased from the new project alone is expected to eliminate the carbon equivalent of 1.8 million gallons of gasoline consumed per year.
Learn more

Volunteer - Bradley Cooper

Broke ground on Peete St. LEED Platinum project Johnson Residence, OTR, Part of a common wall, two small home row house arrangement. The project had a simple goal in mind: affordable housing that can be for everyone. The focus is on holistic, sustainable, quality design that aims at long-term cost savings living in a healthy and beautiful home. The project explores tiny home living as a solution to create a market-rate solution for diversely affordable home-ownership opportunities. 

All winners will receive a plaque at the Earth Day festivities on April 21, 2018 around 1:15 pm. Come say help and congrats!    

2019 Earth Day Environmental Award Winners

Government - Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District

John Nelson

Student - Lynn Lorio
After a successful career in athletic event management, she decided to go back to school for horticulture a few years ago at Cincinnati State. She’s been collecting degrees and certificates in landscape horticulture, sustainable horticulture, and urban agriculture. She has interned and now works at the Zoo and Botanical Gardens, installing green roofs with Green City Resources, and also works part-time assisting a local landscape designer. At Cincinnati State, she constantly encourages and mentors younger students, promoting a lot of residual environmentally-friendly practices and careers in the area. She has also served as president of the horticulture club in the past and is representing our area in 5 competitions this year, trying for the coveted Superstar prize of the National Collegiate Landscape Competition our here in Colorado. She’s active in many national professional organization including the Perennial Plant Association and the National Association of Landscape Professionals. On top of this, she has started a company called Crazy Plant Lady to teach corporate and private groups about sustainable and creative indoor plant practices through fun plant crafting events. Placing 5th student overall in the country at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition

Teacher - Colleen McSwiggin, Sustainability Committee Co-chair, Mount St. Joseph University

For producing a sustainable job fair at Mount. St. Joseph.
Also, one of her other accomplishments from the Sustainability Committee at Mount St. Joe is the electronics recycling days they hold once or twice a year.  Since 2012, the've collected over 250 tons, with the help of volunteers from the Mount, Oak Hills School District, Great Parks, and area high schools.  They work in partnership with RecycleForce, from Indianapolis.  The money they receive from the electronics they recycle goes to provide funding for job training programs for formerly incarcerated individuals who are trying to get their lives back on track. RecycleForce received a large grant from the Sisters of Charity to buy their shredder, which is how they found out about them.
She also instituted a monthly "Beyond the Bin" recycling, which provides outlets for hard to recycling items, such as #1-#7 plastics, batteries, prescription eyeglasses, etc., as well as other initiatives on campus.
Coleen was also awarded the Elizabeth Seton Award by the Sisters of Charity (who sponsor Mount St. Joseph University).  Which is being presented at 3:30 in Delhi, today!

Business - Contemporary Arts Center

Raphaela Platow, Alice and Harris Weston Director
Accepting for Raphaela Aly Laughlin, 
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art - For being one of the first organizations to join the 2030 Group to reduce carbon emissions in Cincinnati. And their commitment to improving the Zaha Hadid Building by implementing the USGBC ARC environmental impact measurement program

Volunteer - Heather Sturgill

Heather Sturgill
Heather has been very involved with the planning and organization for the Apple Street Market in Northside as the Community-Owner Board Representative. Heather is also active volunteering with Housing Opportunities Made Equal and University of Cincinnati-University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disability as Board Member. And volunteering with the American Planning Association as a delegate drafting a Sustainability Policy Guide, and Aging in Community and Hazard Mitigation Policy Guide.


All winners will receive a plaque at the Earth Day festivities on April 21, 2018 around 1:15 pm. Come say help and congrats!    

2015 Earth Day Environmental Award Winners

Government - Cincinnati Public Schools 

The move toward green buildings began as CPS entered the final phase of its Facilities Master Plan (FMP), a 10-year, $1-billion rebuilding program that ended in 2014. About two dozen buildings were built to LEED Silver, or higher, standards. This LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) creates buildings that make excellent use of daylight; have high indoor-air quality; and conserve energy and water for lower operating costs.

CPS Adopted Ten Initiatives for Sustainable Design

Storm-Water Management — reducing impact of runoff with permeable surfaces, vegetative green roofs
High-Performance Gyms — saving energy with heat-reducing roofs, ample daylight, ceiling fans
Geothermal Energy — reducing energy costs using earth’s thermal properties
Indoor Air Quality — reducing levels of environmental toxins such as mold
Transportation — reducing the impact on the environment from district transportation
Native Wood — recycling harvested timber from local parks for such things as case work, cabinetry
Renewable Energy — using wind and solar power to generate electrical power
Water Efficiency — reducing water usage, including reusing storm water
Daylight — saving energy demand with more natural light and fewer light fixtures
Zero-Waste Schools — maximizing reduction and reuse of waste, and recycling and composting

CPS sought LEED Silver certification, the second of four levels and the level that the Ohio School Facilities Commission agreed to help fund, for about two dozen buildings — far more than most districts, said Ron Kull, CPS’ Project Manager for the $1-billion Facilities Master Plan. The new building for Pleasant Ridge Montessori School, which opened August 2008, was CPS’ first LEED Silver-certificated school and was the first public school in Ohio to seek it.

Student - Emily Cigolle - University of Cincinnati

-Work/volunteer  for the Sierra Club

-Achieved environmental literacy certificate

-Founder of the undergraduate geology club

-Part of the Net Zero Waste Campaign at UC

-Vice President of LEAP (Leaders of Environmental Awareness and Protection)

-Planning committee for the Sustainability Summit

-Burnett woods cleanup planning committee

-Member of the Mountaineering club

-Sustainability Advocate at UC

Teacher - Jay Kissinger

Biomedical engineering at Cedarville University

Jay combines his passion for engineering and bicycles by creating wooden bicycles that are the equal to any plastic design.

Man-made Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRPs, example: carbon fiber) is the latest craze in bicycle frame material. Wood is the original, God-made FRP. My bicycle frames are hollow and incredibly lightweight. Additional benefits of a wooden frame are that they are “green”, tough, smooth to ride, and beautiful. My walnut bicycles have won top honors in the Artistry in Wood show.           

Wooden bicycles combine many of my passions: woodworking, cycling and engineering. I am a lifetime cyclist. My first job was working in a bicycle shop when I was fourteen-years old. I started building fillet-brazed and lugged, steel frames in the late 1970’s. With a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering and specialty in lower extremity prosthetics, I developed expertise in the use of composites and materials testing. My day job is teaching topics in mechanical and biomedical engineering at Cedarville University I have access to state-of-the-art testing equipment which I employ to test my frames and frame components. My students are engaged in analyzing, building and testing wooden bicycle frames as their cap-stone senior design experience. I have four years of personal field-testing on my frames including a cross-country, self-supported tour on a wooden tandem with my son. My goal is to share the joy of building and riding wooden framed bicycles.

Business -  Newcomer Funeral Homes

When people are traditionally buried: "We bury enough embalming fluid to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools, enough metal to build the Golden Gate Bridge, and so much reinforced concrete in burial vaults that we could build a two-lane highway from New York to Detroit," Sehee said.(Sehee is the executive director of the Green Burial Council.)

Newcomer allows the unembalmed body to be placed in a biodegradable casket and use nontoxic chemicals. Or one can choose a biodegradable urn for ground or water burial. They also offer families help in finding natural burial preserves. Green burials are also lighter on the wallet. Traditional funerals and burials can cost up to $10,000, whereas a pine casket can be bought for $420, and cardboard casket is just $50. It also allows nature to take back the natural resources our bodies give off once we pass away. "circle of life"

Volunteer - Standish Fortin

Has been a part of the Greater Cincinnati earth Coalition for 15 years as a volunteer. His dedication, selfless service, and hard work has benefited the Tri-State area. During the 15 years, he has held many board positions (Chair, Treasurer). He is always in attendance for every event, brings great ideas to the table, and works tirelessly at all events. Standish is also a part of other volunteer organizations. 

All winners will receive a plaque at the Earth Day festivities on April 16th around 1:10pm. Come say help and congrats!