The New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management to receive an Environmental Merit Award, Governmental, in recognition of his exceptional work and commitment to the environment.
The EPA Environmental Merit Award is an annual award that recognizes outstanding environmental advocates who have made significant contributions toward preserving and protecting our natural resources. Sullivan was nominated by MaryBeth Smuts and Mary Dever-Putnam, both of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Sullivan stated, “I am very honored to have been selected for this award and I am proud of our team in Springfield that has been working with me. We appreciate Mayor Sarno’s support in providing the resources to accomplish the Organic Lawn Care program at our athletic fields, and the green repairs accomplished in our schools and municipal buildings.
“Besides calling Pat the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ he’s also my ‘going green,’ point person. He and his staff have done a wonderful job with our parks and facilities management. Congratulations again on this well-deserved award,” said Mayor Domenic J. Sarno.
Sullivan was selected for the award because he has established a technical environmental team, overseen introduction of a green housekeeping and recycling program, introduced less toxic cleaning, maintenance and curriculum products and furnishings, established 15 organic school gardens, and launched a comprehensive integrated pest management system in city buildings. This year he continued to reduce hazardous substances found in pesticides and conventional fertilizers in all 800 acres of land the city manages. In part a response to community concerns, this successful pilot program was put in place to evaluate the effectiveness of organic land management. The project reduced run-off of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, and municipal staff from Springfield, Holyoke and Northampton as well as residents were trained in organic land management.
In addition to addressing environmental problems in land management, Sullivan also set about cleaning Springfield’s water bodies. A management plan is in place to reduce chemical use aimed at reducing pollutant loads in bodies of water, reopening them for recreational use and restoration of native habitats. This work required extensive collaboration with other city departments and organizations. In addition to these initiatives, Sullivan is working on efforts to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Thus far these efforts have led to a 26 percent drop in energy use in city buildings and schools since 2007.
The award was presented at a special ceremony at Boston Faneuil Hall, One Faneuil Hall Square in Boston on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The annual ceremony has recognized the environmental achievements of New Englanders for more than four decades.
More information on the Environmental Merit Award can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/environmental-merit-awards-new-england.