Sanuthi Henkanaththegedara (age 9), a Webelos Cub Scout in Pack 2831 sponsored by Woodlake United Methodist Church of Midlothian, VA , was awarded the USA President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) to recognize her “Lake Barga Biodiversity Project.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recognized the winners at a virtual ceremony held on August 21, 2021.
The PEYA was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1970 and recognizes outstanding community-level environmental projects by K-12 youth that promote awareness of natural resources nine ponds at Albright Scout Reservation in Chesterfield County, VA, under the supervision of her mentor Dr. Tom R McKee. Building on prior BSA NOVA and SuperNOVA Award experiences she created an online catalog of observations using iNaturalist, a web-based global biodiversity cataloging citizen science project. She encouraged other Scouts to join the effort by submitting their own observations to the project.
Sanuthi’s project has helped educate other Scouts of all ages, their families, and the public about the biodiversity at a woodland pond like Lake Barga and the urgent need for biodiversity conservation efforts.