Environmental Awards Program

Last updated May 30, 2019 - 2:35 pm
Environmental Awards

The City of Raleigh hosted the 12th Annual Environmental Awards on Thursday, April 4, 2019 and you may now read about the 2019 Environmental Award Winners.

The Raleigh Environmental Awards are an initiative of the City's Environmental Advisory Board and Office of Sustainability. Several City departments help coordinate and the awards selection processes and support the ceremony: Public Utilities, Engineering Services/Stormwater Division, and Solid Waste Services. Sponsors of the awards ceremony included US Foods, Hazen, Trophy Brewing, and Westgate Wine. Compost Now helped make the ceremony a zero waste event.

2017 Environmental Award Winners

2016 Environmental Awards Winners

2019 Environmental Awards Online Application is closed

The online application for the 2019 Environmental Awards program is closed.

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

2018 Environmental Award Winners

The 11th Annual Raleigh Environmental Awards ceremony was held in Downtown Raleigh on March 22 to honor individuals and organizations for outstanding work protecting the environment and promoting sustainability in the Capital City.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane presented awards in seven categories.

The Raleigh Environmental Stewardship Award went to The Neighborhood Ecology Corps (N.E.C.), an environmental education initiative involving minority youth who focus on the health of the Walnut Creek watershed. Teams of students strengthen their community by examining cultural, ecological, health, livability, and safety issues related to environmental stewardship.

Dr. Norman Camp, a lifelong resident of southeast Raleigh and a leader of Partners for Environmental Justice through the Episcopal Church, received the Green Hero Award. Doctor Camp’s work helped transform 50-plus acres of City-owned land adjacent to Walnut Creek and Rochester Heights into Walnut Creek Wetlands Center and Park where all children can experience and learn about nature.

Lester Clay, who has worked tirelessly on urban agriculture projects in southeast Raleigh for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and now for Passage Home, received the Urban Stewardship Award. Mr. Clay formed vital partnerships with local restaurants who rely on the produce he and his team grow. His efforts are growing not only a garden, but a neighborhood and community, as well.

The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park at the North Carolina Museum of Art received the Land Stewardship Award. The 164-acre campus uses intentional design that promotes natural resource conservation, access to social and recreational spaces, and experiences with art. The park, once a state prison site, is a destination for art and culture and has forever changed the character of the museum.

The Waste Reduction Award was presented to Zero Waste Wolfpack (ZWW), an initiative that strives for zero waste for North Carolina State University athletic events. From its launch in 2015 at Carter-Finley Stadium, ZWW has increased recycling by 70 percent and collected nearly 41,230 pounds of compost. ZWW proves that sustainability and sports can enrich our lives and planet.

Beaverdam Lake Conservation Easement, a beautiful tract of mainly forested land in northeast Raleigh, received the Water Quality Award. Van Webb, Frances Bobbie, and Beaverdam Lake Incorporated worked with Triangle Land Conservancy to protect 133 acres through a conservation easement graciously donated by the property owners. The land and lake help filter and retain runoff before it reaches the Neuse River, protecting and improving water quality.

The Poe and Grow Garden at The Poe Center for Health Education received the Urban Agriculture Award. This is an interactive outdoor classroom in southeast Raleigh where children and families can learn about gardening, nutrition, soil, composting, plant science, pollination, and more. The garden features eight garden planters, a composting zone, a pollinator garden, outdoor classroom seating and an educational garden mural. The vegetables are used in classes, camps and donated to families to help increase access to produce and increase enjoyment of nutritious food.

In addition, special awards were presented to artists and videographers whose work focused on water protection by educating about stormwater. The Capture It! Stormwater Arts Contest gave three awards:

• Top honors in Stormwater Video went to local high school students Ryan Bauguess, Rachel Young, and Kira Badrova. Their video presents three ways Raleigh citizens can help protect the City’s water supply and keep watersheds clean. The video, which is inspired by oceanographer Silvia Earle, is intended to encourage individuals to preserve the environment and to take action so future generations have a clean and healthy city.

Genna Stott’s “All Drains Lead to the Neuse” won the award for best Storm Drain Stencil Design. With its representation of the Carolina mudpuppy, the stencil illustrates the local and statewide impacts of stormwater runoff when it goes from storm drains in Raleigh to the Neuse River. The drawing conveys that pet waste, chemicals, oils, or other garbage can impact the environment when entering local water sources.

• Top honors in Rain Barrel Artwork Design went to high school students Izabel De Angelo, Daivd Lingle, Jonathan Clymer, and Taylor Gantt. Their design, “Which Side are you on?” conveys the importance of protecting and caring for the environment. The rain barrel painting demonstrates both the positive and negative outcomes associated with stormwater runoff to showcase the impact of citizens’ actions to either pollute the environment or preserve it.

Finally, the Trashion Design Competition recognized clothing and accessories designed with at least 75 percent recycled or reused materials. The goal of the competition is to change the way we think about waste through the creation of unique garments and accessories constructed from items that would otherwise be tossed in the trash.

Trashion Awards were given in five categories:

Marie Claire Eto won Grand Prize in High School category. Her garment is made from 100 percent housing materials. The top of the garment is made from a rice sac. Bubble wrap and plastic bags are sewn onto the bottom portion of the top with wrapping paper underneath to fluff the skirt. A ribbon is used to hold the garment together, and spray paint is used to finish the look;

Sadie Barker received the Grand Prize in Adult category. Her bracelets, earrings, and necklaces are constructed from paper beads made of wrapping paper that cannot be recycled due to its foil content. By combining these beads with elements from used jewelry found in thrift shops, Sadie created this collection by adding one new piece - the wire on which they are strung;

• The Grand Prize in College category went to Celine Borthayre. The bodice of her garment is made from soda can tabs that were cut, interlocked and designed to resemble shiny fish scales. The voluminous shoulder pieces were crocheted using a variety of sizes from scrap yarn. The bottom of the outfit introduces an exciting silhouette and another original textile, including hundreds of pom-poms crafted from old cassette tapes found at a local scrap exchange store.;

Brooke Connolly won Honorable Mention for her piece in the College category inspired by lava rocks and made from recycled plastic milk jugs and black trash bags. The trash bags have been pulled apart and polished red to form the dress. The garment is complete with a detachable milk jug piece on the left side that has been melted and painted with acrylic to look like lava; and,

Kiana Bonollo received Honorable Mention in the College category for her design entitled Queen Conch, which was inspired by a garden snail. This design was created during her first semester at North Carolina State University. The goal of the project was to create an avant-garde look using unconventional and recycled materials. This design embodies the rounded shapes, various textures, and reflective properties of a snail.

Award Categories

The Environmental Award categories are:

RESA (Raleigh Environmental Stewardship Award)

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.

Air/Air Quality

The recipient of this award will be recognized for natural resource conservation that may include the protection of air and air quality.

Energy/Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency

The recipient of this award will have demonstrated leadership in energy, renewable energy and/or energy efficiency programs that have a positive impact on the energy footprint. This may also include energy innovation projects.

Land/Land Conservation/Land Preservation

The recipient of this award will be recognized for land stewardship that may include natural resource conservation, land preservation and the use of drought tolerant plants or native landscaping.


The recipient of this award will be recognized for natural resource conservation that may include waste reduction efforts through recycling, composting and waste avoidance.

Water Quality

The recipient of this award will be recognized for stewardship of water resources that may include water conservation, wastewater reuse and stormwater management.

Urban Agriculture Award

One award will be given to a community garden or urban agriculture project that benefits a community in Raleigh. This award may be given as an implementation grant to a project that is under development, which will include a year end report and site visit.

Urban Stewardship

The recipient of this award will be recognized as a volunteer, individual or organization engaged in community building or conservation.

In addition, there is a "Capture it!" Stormwater Arts Competition for 8th grade students through high school, a "Trashion" Competition from Solid Waste Services for residents ages 14 and up and a Refill Raleigh design competition for middle and high school students.

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.

Capture it! Stormwater Arts Contest

This award category recognizes students in 8th through 12th grade. Each student winner/team receives a monetary award. Students must attend school within the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ), or the utility service area.

Capture it! Stormwater Arts Contest Open to students in 8th through 12th grade
Capture the importance of stormwater runoff through art and film. Submit a 60-second video or a drawing/painting to be placed on a rain barrel or storm drain cover. Artwork should bring more awareness to the positive impacts the community can have on the environment by keeping Raleigh’s streams and lakes clean.

Capture it! Stormwater Arts Contest

Trashion Design Competition

The purpose of the Trashion Design Competition is to change how we think about waste through the creation of unique garments and accessories constructed from items that would otherwise be tossed in the trash.

Eligibility Requirements

This contest is open to residents of Raleigh and its utility service areas, ages 14 and up. The service areas include: Garner, Rolesville, Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon. Applicants must complete an online entry form that includes a written description of the creation, along with photographs or a video. Videos submitted must tell the story behind the work and be no more than two minutes long.


  1. Garment or accessory must be made from at least 75 percent reused materials. Examples include, but are not limited to, bottle caps, cardboard, newspaper, paper cups, paper cartons, plastic bags, and recycled fabrics.
  2. Contest pieces must be durable enough for wear throughout the awards celebration. 


Categories for High School (ages 14 - 18); College (17 and up, enrolled in a two- or four-year institution); and Adult (18 and up, not a full-time student). Categories will be judged separately. Up to three prizes will be awarded in each category. Entries will be judged on originality, functionality, and quality of construction.

Ideas and creations submitted for entry must be the original work of the submitting entrant(s). The Environmental Advisory Board will evaluate each entry and the top nominees will be asked to model their creations in the Environmental Awards celebration in March.

Solid Waste Services Department

Refill Raleigh

Refill Raleigh is a public information and awareness campaign designed to encourage people to use refillable water bottles. The project will use simple window decals to alert residents of locations where they may refill their water bottles while using on-site facilities. The goals of Refill Raleigh are to reduce waste from single use plastic water bottles and encourage residents to utilize our municipal water supply.

The City of Raleigh will sponsor a “Refill Raleigh Contest” an opportunity for middle and high school students to capture the importance of access to clean water and the use of refillable water bottles.

Winners in each competition will receive a $500 prize and will be recognized at the 2019 Environmental Awards.

Refill Raleigh Decal Design: Grade 9 - Grade 12

Refill Raleigh Poster Design: Grade 6 - Grade 8

Refill Raleigh Decal Design Guidelines
(Grade 9 – Grade 12)

The decal should inform viewers that the designated location is participating in the Refill Raleigh program. The decal should convey the importance of using refillable water bottles.

Design Guidelines:

Design concept must be original. Inappropriate content will be disqualified (including the use of identifiable brands). Design must integrate the phrase Refill Raleigh

A successful design concept will have a simple and clear message and will make good use of shape and color.

Submissions will be judged on how well the design concept conveys the goals of the Refill Raleigh program, not the quality of the art. Submissions will be accepted as a scanned/photographed hand-drawn images or computer-generated files (pdf or jpeg).

The winning submission will receive a $500 prize and a professional design treatment by the City of Raleigh Design Team, which will be used to highlight Refill Raleigh stations throughout the city!

The completed design will be unveiled at the 2019 Environmental Awards.

Refill Raleigh Poster Design Guidelines
(Grade 6 – Grade 8)

The poster should inform the public of the importance of reusable water bottles.

Poster Guidelines: Artwork and design must be original. Inappropriate content will be disqualified (including use of identifiable brands). Accepted Size: 11 inches by 17 inches, please leave bottom two inches of the poster blank. Poster must include the phrase: Refill Raleigh.

A successful poster:

• Will promote the Refill Raleigh program

• Will discuss the environmental impacts of single-use plastic water bottles

Images will be accepted in the following formats: PDF (resolution: 300dpi minimum), JPEG (resolution: 300ppi minimum)

The winning poster will be used as part of the City’s outreach and education program and could be displayed throughout the City, on the internet and social media.

Urban Agriculture Awards

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 livability in Raleigh.

There are three types of awards that the city provides which may be used to promote urban agriculture in Raleigh.

The Environmental Advisory Board seeks to promote the personal and societal benefits of urban agriculture through an Urban Agriculture Award that is for a community garden or urban agriculture project that benefits a community in Raleigh. One award will be given as part of the 2019 Environmental Awards program.

The Housing and Neighborhoods Department provides Neighborhood Improvement Funds to encourage and enhance neighborhoods. There are two levels of these grants which range in amount from $250 up to $1,000 and they may be used for pollinator habitat, community gardens, urban agriculture and tree planting.

The Housing and Neighborhoods Department also awards Community Enhancement Grants to nonprofit and faith-based organizations to build human capacity within blighted or low- and moderate-income areas. This grant cycle begins in November and is awarded through a formal RFP process. Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture projects that build human capacity are eligible to apply. Please contact George Adler for more information about this process.


The City of Raleigh Environmental Awards Program has been sponsored in the past by the generous donors below. If you are interested in making a contribution towards the 2019 Environmental Awards, please contact Nicole Goddard at 919-996-4259.

2018 Sponsors

  • Hazen
  • US Foods
  • City of Oaks Foundation
  • City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department
  • City of Raleigh Stormwater Management Division
  • City of Raleigh Solid Waste Services Department
  • HDR Engineering
  • OBS Landscape Architects
  • Sonoco Recycling
  • S&ME
  • Larry’s Beans
  • Market Hall in the Historic City Market
  • CompostNow

2017 Sponsors

  • Sepi Engineering
  • Hazen & Sawyer
  • WRAL
  • City of Oaks Foundation
  • US Foods
  • Duncklee & Dunham
  • OBS Landscape Architects
  • WasteZero
  • Law Offices of F. Bryan Brice, Jr
  • HDR Inc.
  • Sonoco Recycling
  • S & ME
  • Dewberry Engineering
  • Morningstar Law Group
  • Trophy Brewing
  • City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department
  • City of Raleigh Stormwater Management Division
  • City of Raleigh Solid Waste Services Department

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:

  • The members of the Environmental Advisory Board along with additional jurors with specific areas of expertise will select the winners for these awards.

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 applicant has improved the capacity for our ecosystems to provide us with resources.
  • Leadership - Discuss how the applicant has demonstrated vision, foresight, and persistence.
  • Sustainability Elements - Describe how the applicant has improved social, economic, and ecological conditions.

Our Unique Awards

Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace of New Light Farm in Wake Forest, 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.

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