Environmental Awards Program

Last updated Nov. 14, 2019 - 11:35 am
Environmental Awards

The City of Raleigh will host the 13th Annual Environmental Awards on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at the Dorothea Dix Park. The applications for the 2020 Awards is now open and will close on Feb. 3, 2020.

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.

2019 Environmental Award Winners

2018 Environmental Award Winners are listed below.

2017 Environmental Award Winners

2016 Environmental Awards Winners

2020 Environmental Awards Online Application is now open!

The online application for the 2020 Environmental Awards program is now open!

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

Award Categories

Watershed Map

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.

Climate Action Award(s)

Raleigh’s Community-wide Climate Action Plan outlines key areas of impacts for greenhouse gas emissions. Awards for climate action could be given for action on: Air Quality, Energy, Transportation and Land Use, and Waste. These awards can recognize:

• protection of air and air quality;

• 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;

• innovations in transportation, including reduced VMT (through increased transit use, carpooling, etc.), transportation electrification, demonstrated reductions in work-associated flying, or increased telepresence;

• land conservation, land preservation and the use of drought tolerant plants or native landscaping; and/or

• natural resource conservation that may include waste reduction efforts through recycling, composting, waste reduction education or waste diversion.

Business Innovation for Environmental Stewardship

The winner of this award will be an enterprise demonstrating the business case for environmental stewardship through

• green products,

• supply chain management,

• material reuse,

• communication strategies,

• recycling processes, and/or

• other business-related environmental endeavors.

Community Action Award

The recipient of this award will be recognized as a volunteer, individual or non-profit organization working in Raleigh on the stewardship of natural resources, community-building, environmental justice or conservation.

Drinking Watershed Protection Award presented by Raleigh Water

This award will recognize any person or organization which has taken steps to protect and preserve water quality within the Falls Lake and/or Swift Creek watersheds. Improvement efforts can include litter removal, reestablishing a riparian area beside a stream, stream bank restoration, working with landowners to preserve areas with streams on their property, or installation of a stormwater Best Management Practice. The goal of the award will be to encourage public recognition of critical drinking water resources and the need to protect them.

In addition, there are Stormwater and Solid Waste Services competitions. The details for these competitions will be posted soon.

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

Attention 8th through 12th graders! Help us capture the importance of stormwater runoff. Show us how you'd reduce stormwater pollution and protect our streams and lakes.

There are two categories for this contest:

  • A 60-second video; or,
  • A drawing/painting on a rain barrel or storm drain covers.
Additional details will be available soon!

You must attend school in the City of Raleigh, Raleigh extra territorial jurisdictions (ETJ), or the utility service area.

We'll announce the winners during Earth Day's 50th Anniversary. There's a celebration and the Environmental Awards at Dix Park on April 18.

Stormwater Contest

Solid Waste Services Trashion Competition

The SWS Trashion Show is part of the annual City of Raleigh Environmental Awards ceremony to highlight recycled garments and accessories created by high school and college students, as well as aspiring professional designers in the Raleigh area.

The Trashion Design Competition provides an opportunity to showcase unique and recycled-inspired garments created from items that would otherwise be disposed of in the trash. Cash prize is $500.


• Create a garment or accessory using at least 75% reused materials like plastic bags, tires, aluminum cans, bottle caps, newspaper, fabric, and cardboard
• Complete online entry form with description of your creation, along with photos or video
• Entries judged on originality, functionality, and quality of construction

Solid Waste Services Department

Urban Agriculture Grants

In 2020, Raleigh will not award an Urban Agriculture Grant, however there are other opportunities for funding these projects.

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.

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.

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.

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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