Kretser was nominated for her work on the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit, now in its seventh year and held each November at the Center in Tupper Lake, NY. The Adirondack Youth Climate Summit has inspired Summits in Finland and Vermont.
Each year, the EPA Region 2 recognizes those who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to protecting and enhancing environmental quality and public health in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight federally recognized Indian Nations over the past year.
In a announcement of the award Assistant Professor at the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at SUNY Plattsburgh Curt Gervich said: “In this day and age of common core curriculum standards, insanely demanding student schedules, complete accountability for faculty time and other constraints on teachers’ flexibility and freedom in the classroom, Jen has found a way to get over 300 students and teachers to give two-full days plus an enormous amount of extracurricular time to learning about climate and developing climate leadership skills. This kind of continued support speaks to the quality of the programming at the climate summit, but even more to Jen’s ability to read, understand and connect with the people of the Adirondacks. The schools of the Adirondacks are not taking charge for climate activism based on the science alone. If that were the case every school in New York would be developing gardens, reducing fossil fuel use, participating in documentary films about climate resilience and sending students to the UN and Washington DC because we all know the same science. There is something different going on in the Adirondacks. Something, OR IN THIS CASE SOMEONE, is motivating them. And that someone is Jen Kretser.”
In December 2014 the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) launched a new Climate Education and Literacy Initiative to help connect American students and citizens with the best-available, science based information about climate change. The Wild Center’s innovative Adirondack Youth Climate Summit was recognized as a nationally important tool to move this conversation forward.
The Environmental Champion Award is the highest recognition presented to the public by the EPA.