Seventh Annual Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award Goes to Maury Green Team Leader

Press Release Date: 
April 25, 2015 – ALEXANDRIA, VA

Pete Raack , Matthew Maury Elementary School Green Team Leader, is this year’s winner of the Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award. The award was presented today by Alexandria Renew Enterprises and the City of Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission during Alexandria Earth Day 2015 at Ben Brenman Park. A tree was planted in his honor.

Pete’s “endless energy and creativity demonstrated an unwavering commitment to protecting the environment at Maury and throughout the City of Alexandria, and has inspired and raised awareness among countless Maury students and parents,” said Mr. Raack’s nominator Brittany Fraser.

Mr. Raack champions the Maury Green Team’s Compost Captains program, which helps educate students on the importance of composting. He serves as the multi-year leader of the Maury Environmental Kids’ Club after-school program to teach students the importance of keeping Maury green. The school’s garden is thriving and rain barrels are at work, thanks to Pete. He involves kids and parents in stream cleanups—no matter the weather.

For this year’s Earth Day celebrations, Mr. Raack organized a campus-wide cleanup with school volunteers; a screening of the movie, “The Lorax” after school; a field trip to AlexRenew’s Four Mile Run Pump Station; and the Second Annual “Run for the Trees” fun run for all Maury students. He also led Maury’s participation in Alexandria Earth Day.

Alexandria Renew CEO Karen Pallansch commented, “The theme of this year’s Alexandria’s Earth Day Celebration is ‘It’s Your Turn to Lead.’ Through word and deed, Pete embodies the true spirit of environmental leadership. He tirelessly and selflessly gives back to the community in ways that will be felt for years. He motivates and inspires students, teachers, and parents to be environmental leaders in their own right. That is a legacy worthy of the Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award.”

The award is named to honor the late Ms. Pickering and her lifelong dedication to City preservation and conservation. She helped create the Mount Vernon Trail between Alexandria and Washington, DC, and urged the adoption of the City’s Open Space Plan. Mrs. Pickering also implemented the planting of 1,000 citizen-donated cherry trees during her tenure as Chair of the Alexandria Beautification Commission. She was a member of the Alexandria Sanitation Authority’s Board of Directors and served on the Alexandria City Council and numerous boards and commissions.