Among this year's recipients was Ms Susan Tan, 48, zone principal of several Kinderland preschools. Pre-school pupils at the Kinderland centres she oversees learn not to litter, and learn about recycling by making crafts like lanterns from recycled cardboard and toilet paper rolls. She also sends notices to parents electronically rather than on paper, halving paper use.
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Here is the full statement from the National Envrionment Agency:
Eight individuals will receive the EcoFriend Award for their outstanding environmental contributions at the upcoming Singapore Environment and Water Awards Ceremony. And for the first time in the awards' seven-year history, a preschool principal, Ms Susan Tan, has been recognised for her dedication to educating young children on environmental issues.
The EcoFriend Awards is an initiative by the National Environment Agency (NEA) that commends the efforts and achievements of environmentally-proactive individuals in Singapore. Ms Tan, along with seven other individuals, will be honoured at the Singapore Environment and Water Awards Ceremony that will be officiated by President Tony Tan at the Marina Barrage on 24 September 2013.
Besides reaching out to her own preschoolers, Ms Tan, Zone Principal of Kinderland Preschools, partnered NEA to initiate a Litter-Free Preschool Programme with the aim of inculcating anti-littering habits amongst preschoolers. She also played an active role in raising awareness on public health issues among young children and their parents at past Clean and Green Singapore Schools' Carnivals.
Apart from Ms Tan, Mr Loh Yi Rong will also be recognised for his exemplary leadership in rallying youths to go the extra mile to extend social graciousness under the Keep Singapore Beautiful Movement (KSBM). Mr Loh, one of the three youth winners for this year's award, conceptualised and managed many of KSBM's programmes. One such programme is the Tray Return Initiative at Tampines Round Market, where he led a group of youth volunteers to encourage and educate patrons on the importance of returning their trays after meals in November and December 2012. The successful programme saw over 20,000 trays returned and helped spread key messages on public hygiene.
This year saw the highest number of nominations since the awards started, with 419 nominations received. The number of youth nominees also nearly doubled - from 48 nominations in 2012 to 82 nominations this year, reflecting a rising number of people, especially youths, involved with environmental work locally.
"The increasing number of EcoFriend Awards nominees over the years reflects the growing environmental activism and ownership among our people. This year's winners not only do their part for the environment, but they are also strong advocates, influencing others to get involved as well. We look forward to even greater participation in our efforts to encourage everyone to protect and cherish our environment," said Mr Ronnie Tay, CEO of NEA.
On her achievement, Ms Tan said, "Through my work, I have seen young children learn and begin to take action to protect the environment. They make me firmly believe that everyone has a part to play in maintaining the delicate balance of our global ecosystem. It is fortunate that as an early childhood educator, I am able to share this belief with my colleagues, young children and their parents. My desire is for us, both the young and old, to take up this social responsibility and become a friend of the environment."