DEP Environmental Justice Champion Of Community Involvement: Bobby Hughes, EPCAMR
DEP’s Office of Environmental Justice put the spotlight on another Champion of Community Involvement in their latest newsletter by profiling Bobby Hughes, Executive Director of the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation--
Bobby Hughes has devoted his time to help increase community pride and environmental quality in the coal region of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Bobby is the founding executive director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR) which was formed in 1995 to reclaim and redevelop land affected by past mining practices.
Though the organization does technical work related to abandoned mine issues, there is also an emphasis on community involvement through environmental education, encouraging volunteerism, and increasing neighborhood pride.
Environmental education is done through a variety of school programs focused on the 114 underserved school districts in the EPCAMR’s region and based on the local school’s needs and opportunities.
Where possible, students are taken to streams near the school to learn about stream ecology, acid mine drainage and reclamation, and volunteerism.
EPCAMR has a focus on encouraging volunteerism, environmental education, and empowering communities to take back their towns from environmental degradation. Community pride from residents helps increase volunteerism and can also be a motivation for businesses.
Working to encourage economic development opportunities around mine reclamation helps the community in several ways.
“With poverty there is a lack of opportunity to even get outdoors in a way that schools and parents feel it is safe.,” Bobby said. “There is a need to get students and youth out into the environment. Get them involved - plant a tree, pick up litter, plant a garden. We need to create opportunities to get out into the environment.”
Nominate A Champion
Is there an EJ champion in your community? Does your community have a success story you would like to share with DEP? Email DEP your story for publication in the next Your Environment, Your Voice newsletter to: RA-EPOEJ@pa.gov.
[Posted: Sept.. 8, 2020]
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