Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 16, 2011) – The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Petroleum Council today presented the 34th annual Tawes Awards for a Clean Environment to the Youth Action Corp from Frederick County and Standard Solar’s Rockville Ice Arena Project. Paul Kazyak of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources was honored with the 6th annual James B. Coulter Award.

The awards are co-sponsored by MDE and the Petroleum Council to recognize youth, adults, and private and public organizations involved in the restoration and protection of Maryland’s natural resources. The Tawes award, given to both adult and youth awardees, is named in honor of J. Millard Tawes, governor of Maryland from 1959 to 1967 and first secretary of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The James B. Coulter Award, named after Maryland’s second DNR Secretary, acknowledges environmental contributions by a government employee.

"These award winners are dedicated environmental stewards who not only help preserve the air, water, and land that we share, but also inspire other Marylanders to take action," said Governor Martin O'Malley.

"Individual actions to improve our environment and conserve energy are critical to reviving our economy, promoting national security, and the health of the Chesapeake Bay," said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. "I am pleased to recognize this year's winners, who have made outstanding contributions to help protect our earth."

"We are proud to honor these environmental champions for giving their time and talents to protect our State’s precious resources and the Chesapeake Bay," said MDE Secretary Robert M. Summers. "They make their communities a better place to live and their contributions benefit all Marylanders."

The Tawes Youth Award winner, the Youth Action Corps (YAC), is a program where middle and high school students plan and implement their own service learning projects in the community. YAC has determined that the environment is an area of focus.

YAC projects over the years include: planting 32 trees throughout the Catoctin Zoo and Wildlife Preserve in recognition of September 11th Day of Remembrance and Volunteerism; collecting more than 35 bags of trash while recording the types of trash collected on International Coastal Cleanup Day at Terrapin National Park in Kent Island; planting more than 200 trees along a part of Glade Creek in Walkersville on Make a Difference Day; planting more than 75 trees and more than 300 native wildflowers plants in a wildflower garden at Antietam Battlefield; and, at the 5th Annual MLK Day Junior Service Fair and Celebration, potting flowers and bulbs for the Seed of Life CSA and helping with a recycling education project where they facilitated a discussion about the benefits of recycling for the environment. The program has many projects in the works for the rest of the school year, including roadside cleanup of a road they officially adopted, participation in a reforestation project at a local Frederick County Farm, and more tree planting in other areas throughout Maryland.

Standard Solar’s Rockville Ice Arena Project is the winner of the Tawes Adult Award. Standard Solar is a Maryland-based company that provides full-service development, construction, integration, financing, and installation of solar electric systems. Standard Solar installed Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the Rockville Blades Ice Arena – the largest rooftop installation in Maryland. The installation helps reduce the need for traditional sources of energy, lessening the need for fossil fuel energy production.

The arena is also used as an educational facility. The solar array tracks the real-time environmental impact, which is displayed inside the facility for visitors to monitor. In less than a year, the solar array system offset 714,899 pounds of carbon emissions and produced enough electricity to supply a day’s worth of electricity to nearly 17,000 homes or a year’s worth of electricity for more than 70 homes.

Paul Kazyak, who received the James B. Coulter Award for his work as a government employee, played a key role in the development and implementation of DNR’s Maryland Biological Stream Survey, a long-term aquatic monitoring program. He developed the national standard for formal aquatic biologist training/testing requirements, and has led many presentations and training sessions.

In 2000, Kazyak formed the Boy Scouts of America Venturing Crew 202, which educates high school students on environmental science and helps them develop, plan, and carry out environmental restoration projects. Kazyak, who lives in Carroll County, encourages enthusiasm for environmental issues while creating a culture where youngsters are expected to lead in educational efforts on the environment. He volunteers with the Boy Scouts, Highlands Environmental Leadership Program in Western Maryland, the Maryland Envirothon, environmental conferences, and environmental leadership training.

His work with the Venturing Crew has resulted in the planting of 12,000 trees, numerous outreach sustainability and environmental education efforts, the banding of 5,000 brown pelican chicks, bog turtle restoration, development of aquatic displays, extensive media coverage, and a greening initiative for energy conservation.

A panel of judges chooses the Tawes and Coulter award winners each year. For more information on the Tawes Award for a Clean Environment or the James B. Coulter Award, please call (410) 269-1850.

Photographs, as well as a list of previous winners, will be posted online at: