The Aquarion Water Company kicked off a new program this year designed to acknowledge and support individuals, non-profits and companies who have made a real difference to our environment.

Called the Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards, the first winners were honored on June 4 at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo‘s Wild Wine, Beer & Food Safari. And one of the winners was Stamford’s own Dick Emmons.

Emmons won the adult award (a $2,500 grant) for his educational efforts. As a certified Chief Instructor for the Connecticut Aquatic Resource Education Program (CARE), Emmons has taught the sport of fishing to more than 1,000 Connecticut children and adults, including disabled veterans, inner-city youth and Special Olympics athletes.

Emmons stresses the impact of human action on nature with his students. And he continuously emphasizes the importance of protecting the environment, especially water, wildlife and plants.

Emmons will use the grant to support Future CARE efforts in Stamford and “Take A VET Fishing” (T.A.V.F.) run by the Congregation al Church of Branford. For more information about their wonderful program go to

In the Business category, Norwalk-based Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation of Norwalk won a $2500 grant. Receiving the grant for Northrop Grumman were Norwalk Site Director Tony Izzo and Stephen Arena — Environmental, Health, Safety and Fire Protection Engineer.

Northrop Grumman’s conservation efforts results a reduction of 21.3 tons of waste. The waste was recycled, reclaimed and/or reused.

The Student (grades 9-12) Award of a $1,000 savings bond was awarded to Natalie Valentin of Simsbury. Among her conservation minded activities was a recycling club she started at her high school and led a river cleanup.

Clean Up Sound and Harbors (CUSH) of Stonington won the Non-Profit category for its tremendous accomplishments cleaning up the water and controlling sewage.

Presenters for Saturday’s ceremony included United States Senator Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Post editor Tom Baden, and Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control Vice Chairman John “Jack” Betkoski.

The panel of judges for the awards included: John Herlihy, Chairperson of the Award Committee and Aquarion’s Director of Water Quality and Environmental Management; Len Dejonge, Manager of Aquarion’s Watershed and Environmental Programs; Kerry Eaton, Senior Vice President of St. Vincent‘s Medical Center; Jessica Summers, Development Director of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo; Sally Harold, Nature Conservancy Program Manager; and Chris Klemmer, an engineer on Aquarion’s Customer Advisory Board in Litchfield, CT.

Aquarion Water Company is the public water supply company for more than 580,000 people in 39 cities and towns throughout Connecticut.