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WESTFORD — A Day Elementary School student has received national acclaim for a recent project at a local community garden.
Rahul Ram, a fifth grade student from Westford’s Day School received the President’s Environmental Youth Award for his work on sustainability within the garden.
The PEYA was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1970 and recognizes outstanding community-led environmental projects by youth. These projects promote awareness of natural resources and encourages positive community involvement, according to the EPA.
Each year, the EPA chooses to recognize a variety of local projects that involve environmental stewardship and protection.
“The tradition of excellence in environmental education continues with this year’s winners and I am so proud of their efforts to tackle the most pressing environmental challenges we face,” wrote EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan in a news release. “I’m happy to celebrate the climate action and environmental stewardship work of the dedicated youth and educators who are leaders in their classrooms and communities. Environmental education is one of the most important tools in our work to protect the environment and combat the climate crisis.”
Through his investigative work, Rahul estimated that vehicles driving to the garden to care for individual plots burned significantly more gasoline than a single farmer’s tractor tending to the same size plot of land.
Rahul set out to reduce air pollution by encouraging gardeners to water additional plots when they drove to tend to their own. He created a website where gardeners could volunteer to water additional plots. Rahul’s garden community estimates that they have reduced 2,500 pounds of air pollution, and hope to reduce more in the coming season.
In addition to his work on reducing emissions, Rahul has also worked to incorporate hydroponics – where gardeners use nutrient-rich water rather than soil – into the garden.
Rahul estimates that his garden alone uses 66 swimming pools of water each season, which lasts from May to October.
The EPA did not specify if Rahul’s project involved the Westford Community Garden. WestfordCAT reached out to organizers from the Westford Community Garden, who were unable to confirm if this project was created at Westford’s garden.
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