Environmental Awards Program

Last updated Jun. 10, 2015 - 1:14 pm
Environmental Awards

The City of Raleigh annual Environmental Awards program recognizes individuals and organizations that are good stewards of the environment in our community. Nominees/applicants must reside or operate within the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ), or the utility service area.

The Environmental Awards are held on Earth Day each year. Mark your calendars to attend this free, public event that celebrates the accomplishments of local environmental advocates.

The City of Raleigh Environmental Awards program is completely funded by community sponsors.

For more information, please call the City of Raleigh at 919-996-3070.

2015 Environmental Awards winners

2015 Environmental Awards keynote address

Nominations Closed for 2015 Environmental Awards

Nominations for the 2015 City of Raleigh Environmental Awards closed February 13. Please join us for the Environmental Awards celebration April 22 at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences; the public reception begins at 6 p.m.; the awards ceremony begins at 7 p.m.

Nominations for the 2016 Environmental Awards will open December 2016. In preparation for the nomination process, feel free to review this sample application form.

For more information, please call the City of Raleigh at 919-996-3070.

Award Categories

There are twelve different Environmental Awards. The award winners will be selected based upon quantifiable results that positively affect the environment. Nominees/applicants must reside or operate within the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ), or the utility service area.

Overall Award

  • Raleigh Environmental Stewardship Award (RESA)
    The winner of RESA will be either an individual or organization that has shown environmental leadership and recognizes the relationship and continuity of the environment, economics, and equity or social justice aspects of human society.

Additional Award Categories

  • Environmental Awareness Award (Leadership or Teaching)
    The recipient of this award will have demonstrated leadership or teaching others about the environment.
  • Green Building Design Award - Residential and Non-Residential
    The recipient (s) of this award will have demonstrated green design concepts and a positive ecological footprint within new or existing buildings. Examples may include stormwater, recycling, sedimentation and erosion controls, construction debris reuse, and energy innovation.
  • Institutional Innovation Award
    This award will recognize a government entity that has been innovative in any area of environmental stewardship.
  • Legacy Award
    The recipient of this award will be recognized for a lifelong contribution to the environment by a person or a long-term commitment by an organization.
  • Market Transformation Award
    The recipient of this award manufactures, retails, or markets transformative products, services, or technology which promotes positive change for the environment and health.
  • Natural Resource Conservation Award
    The recipient of this award will be recognized for natural resource conservation that may include water, land, air quality, habitat/biodiversity or waste reduction.
  • Pioneering Efforts Award
    The recipient of this award will be recognized for pioneering efforts in any environmental area.
  • Regional Award
    The recipient of this award will have demonstrated environmental stewardship for the region, such as air quality, streams and watersheds, or other regional issues.
  • Urban Stewardship Award
    This award will recognize a volunteer individual or organization engaged in community building or conservation.
  • Native Landscaping Award
    This award will recognize individuals or businesses that utilize drought tolerant and native plants in their landscaping. The best residential and non-residential landscape will each receive an award.
  • Youth Award ($500)
    This award will recognize a student that has demonstrated environmental stewardship. The youth award may be given to more than one person or group.

Student / Emerging Professional Awards

These award categories recognize students in multiple education levels. Each student winner/team receives a monetary award. Students must attend a school within the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ), or the utility service area.

Emerging Young Professional (High School Student) - PSA Competition
This award will recognize a 60-second video public service announcement created by a high school student that raises awareness of stormwater issues. (Sample application form)

Theme: Much of the pollution in our streams and lakes comes from chemicals and wastes carried by urban stormwater runoff, with no treatment. Also, both too much runoff from the ground and too little infiltration into the ground can harm streams. Adding pavements and buildings (impervious surfaces) dramatically increases amounts and rates of runoff, which increases flooding, erodes streams, increases sedimentation, and impairs habitats for desirable animals and plants. Impervious surfaces also decrease how much rainfall can soak into the ground, which causes local groundwater tables to drop and streams to dry up during droughts.

The submitted 60-second PSAs should have themes consistent with these statements:

  • Stormwater runoff is the main connection between humans’ activities and water bodies. Through stormwater runoff, what we do on the land affects our lakes and streams.
  • The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land." – Luna Leopold

Emerging Professional (College, University or Technical School) - PSA Competition
(Donna Jackson Trailblazer Award)
This award will recognize 30-second video public service announcements created by college, university or technical school students. (Sample application form)

The Theme of the PSA should include the Public Utilities slogan “Our Water, Our Future” and focus on one of the following themes:

  1. Fix-A-Leak/Running Toilets —A main reason customers experience high water bills is water leaks, specifically toilet flappers left open or in disrepair causing water to run.
  2. Value of Water - The ability to keep our water supply safe and clean comes at a cost. How does the cost of this 'essential service' compare to other 'luxury' services (i.e. monthly cable, cell phone bill, or cost of retail cup of coffee) we pay for every month?
  3. Fat Free Sewers — Keeping fats, oils, grease and other non-flushable items out of the sewer system.

Urban Agriculture Award Applications Closed

The presence of agriculture in the urban environment positively affects the natural environment, the local economy, social relations and household economic behavior, all of which contribute to the livability of the city. Acknowledging the challenges facing our food system, the Environmental Advisory Board seeks to promote the personal and societal benefits of urban agriculture. Research demonstrates that eating food grown locally, and participating in its cultivation, motivates people to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables. Toward that end, a new category of Environmental Awards grants has been established for 2015 to encourage the development of urban agricultural efforts in the city of Raleigh.

A number of cash awards will be presented to individuals, groups, non-profits and/or businesses at the Environmental Awards ceremony on April 22, 2015.

Eligible Applicants include: Community Gardens, Schools, Churches, Community Centers, Day Care Centers, Neighborhoods, Workplaces, Public Housing Sites, Apartment Sites, Senior Centers, Civic Groups, individuals and local businesses.

Funding for projects such as: fences, irrigation and/or water sources, garden structures, equipment, compost, seeds and soft costs.

Applicants and Projects:

  • Must ultimately improve access to healthy, affordable food
  • Be linked with existing community infrastructure, resources and/or groups of volunteers
  • Must have a plan in place for long-term success

Applicants who are awarded funds must:

  • Attend the annual Environmental Awards Ceremony on April 22nd
  • Welcome site visits by the Environmental Advisory Board members and/or staff
  • Submit a year-end report by November 1, 2015


  • Applications open December 2014
  • Applications due March 6, 2015
  • Decisions announced on April 22, 2015
  • Projects completed by October 15, 2015
Urban Agriculture Award Application

Eligibility and Selection Committee

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must either be residents of or operate within the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ), or the utility service area.
  • Elected officials are not eligible while they are serving in public office.

Selection Committee:

  • Ten (10) person jury, selected by the Raleigh City Council
  • One (1) chairperson chosen from the membership of and nominated by the City of Raleigh Environmental Advisory Board
  • Five (5) jury representatives are selected from
    • Planning Commission
    • Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board
    • Appearance Commission
    • Stormwater Management Advisory Commission
    • Water Utility Transition Advisory Committee or Water Conservation Advisory Council.
  • Two (2) representatives of the professional scientific community
  • Two (2) at-large members from the community
  • Members of the jury will be residents of the City of Raleigh and will rotate annually

Applications for the Urban Agriculture grants will be reviewed separately by the Environmental Advisory Board.

Selection Criteria

Nominations will be evaluated based on the specific criteria and weighting formulas. Projects will be evaluated as much as possible on the quantifiable results that positively affect the environment.

  • Effectiveness - List the goals and measures of success.
  • Innovation, Creativity and Originality - Discuss the methods, strategies, and innovative ideas.
  • Environmental Stewardship - Describe measurable increases in ecological resiliency or how the nominee/submission has improved the capacity for our ecosystems to provide us with resources.
  • Leadership - Discuss how the nominee/submission demonstrated vision, foresight, and persistence.
  • Sustainability Elements - Describe how the nominee/submission has improved social, economic, and ecological conditions.

Additional evaluation methods may be used to select PSA video submissions.

Our Unique Awards

Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace of New Light Farm in Wake Forest, NC handcrafts the stunning awards presented annually at the City of Raleigh Environmental Awards program. "The plan was always to use a natural product, something wooden," says Cindy Holmes, Assistant Sustainability Manager and event producer. The first time she saw Wallace's work she knew she had found the perfect person to create the prized items. The awards event recognizes individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to the environment.


The City of Raleigh Environmental Awards Program is made possible through the generous donations from local businesses that share the vision of environmental stewardship for the Raleigh community. These donations, both monetary and in-kind, make it possible to offer this event at no cost to attendees.

Sponsorship opportunities for the 2015 celebration are available.

Presenting Sponsor

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Certified Friend of the Program

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