Organizations Recognized for Their Work Improving the Environment, Saving Lives, and Reducing Obesity

Monday, April 07, 2014

Boulder County Public Health will honor a high school club, a nonprofit, and a child care center for their exemplary work in improving the health of people in Boulder County. The Fairview High School Net Zero Club, the Harm Reduction Action Center (HRAC), and Junior Jets Child Development Center are the 2014 recipients of the Boulder County Public Health Healthy Community Award.

What: Boulder County Health Community Awards
When: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 2 - 4 p.m.
Where: Sheriff Headquarters Training Room, 5600 Flatirons Parkway in Boulder

The Fairview High School Net Zero Club has been working since 2008 to create a greener school and community. The club has planted 59 trees on campus, improved recycling, supported the launch of school composting, and drastically reduced junk mail. The club has also harvested honeybees to bring awareness to the decline of the honeybee population and potential environmental impacts of pesticides.

In addition, club members have helped to develop local and state environmental protection policies, such as a plastic bag ban in the city of Boulder and an historic air quality regulation controlling emissions from oil and gas production. They attended and spoke out at city council meetings and state hearings, drafted an editorial, provided written testimony, and presented the issues to other students.

“These students have researched the topics, rallied other students and adults, and taken a leadership role to support our environment and our health,” said Pam Milmoe, Boulder County Public Health Air Quality/Business Sustainability Program Coordinator. “Their efforts have helped our community to eliminate waste, save money, and improve air quality for future generations.”

The new air quality regulations in Colorado for which the students testified, are the first in the country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas production facilities. Annual methane reductions are estimated to be equivalent to taking 400,000 cars off the road.

Harm Reduction Action Center (HRAC) is a nonprofit organization in Denver that educates and advocates for the health and dignity of injection drug users and affected partners. HRAC has been instrumental in changing structures and laws that impeded people from getting services and supplies that prevent disease and save lives.

HRAC’s work has influenced the passing of major laws that impact the health of Colorado residents, such as the legalization of syringe access programs, including protection from paraphernalia laws, and allowing the prescription of an overdose-reversing drug, Naloxone or Narcan, to those who may witness an overdose so they can potentially save someone’s life.

In addition, HRAC worked closely with other partners, such as the Drug Policy Alliance, to enact the Good Samaritan law that encourages people who may witness an overdose to call for help without the fear of facing drug charges.

“Because of HRAC’s work, drug users across Colorado will be less likely to share injection equipment and get HIV or hepatitis C, and they’ll be less likely to die of an overdose,” said Carol Helwig, Boulder County Public Health Communicable Disease Control Program Coordinator.

Since October 2013, four overdose prevention training sessions have been held in Boulder County, and 23 people were trained and provided with naloxone prescriptions. Four overdose reversals have been reported to Boulder County Public Health thus far.

Junior Jets, a Longmont child care center serving children 6 weeks to 12 years old, is actively working to prevent early childhood obesity and promote the social and emotional health of children. The center provides training and puts policies in place that improve the health and well-being of the staff, families, and children they serve.

“The center director, Beth Cushing, has made improving health, safety, nutrition, and overall quality a priority,” said Sarah Scully, Boulder County Public Health Child Health Promotion Program Coordinator. “She supports staff training and professional development and builds in coverage so staff can take time out of the classroom to improve their skills.”

The center participates in multiple programs that focus on increasing physical activity throughout the day, improving the nutrition of foods served, reducing screen time, and supporting breastfeeding among staff and families.

“Overall, menus have improved substantially. Parents are replacing the sugary foods they used to bring in for celebrations with fruits and vegetables, and menus now use more whole grains, have more variety of fruits and vegetables, and do not include processed foods,” said Scully.

The center is also involved with the Kid Connects Mental Health Consultation Program to improve the capacity of caregivers to respond to the social and emotional needs of very young children.

The Boulder County Public Health Healthy Community Awards, developed in 2006, recognizes individuals and groups in the Boulder County community that address public health needs and issues. Up to three awards are given annually.

A Boulder County Public Health employee must nominate community members or organizations for the award, and a review committee of public health leaders selects award recipients.

Chana Goussetis
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Boulder County Public Health

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