A Newark Charter School alumnus was recognized last week for his work to improve the environment. 

Sabin Lowe, 19, was named a Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control high school environmentalist of the year during the Delaware State Fair.

He was among two dozen Delawareans of all ages honored by Gov. John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin for their environmental leadership, innovation and dedication.

“This afternoon, we recognized a broad cross section of Delawareans who contribute to the conservation of our natural resources and the stewardship of our environment,” Garvin said in a written statement. “We congratulate these volunteers, organizers, photographers and anglers – conservationists and environmentalists all – for their work that brought us here today, and we look forward to their future contributions.”

Lowe, who plans to attend the University of Delaware for environmental studies, was recognized for his work over the past two years to improve Delaware's environment. 

Through the Marine Science Club at NCS, Lowe and classmate Tara Cain worked to limit the use of straws throughout Newark.

They went out to all the restaurants on Main Street and asked them to stop providing straws unless requested. Sixteen restaurants adopted a by-request-only policy for straws.

"Just the extent to which climate change is going to be affecting both our lives and future generations, I think it's kind of our duty to try the best to our ability to make an impact to mitigate those damages," Lowe said in a previous interview. 

During the winter, Lowe was among several Newark Charter students who were invited to present their research before the city’s Conservation Advisory Commission, a volunteer committee charged with advising city council on environmental issues.

After the students’ presentation, the committee voted to formally recommend city council pass a law either banning plastic straws in Newark or mandating that restaurants implement a request-only policy.

City council ultimately decided not to ban straws, but is in the process of drafting a policy stating that restaurants should distribute straws only at the request of a customer. The policy will come back to council for a final vote at a later date.

Beyond his grassroots effort in the city, Lowe also has been lobbying and writing legislation for a statewide ban on the use of plastic straws, and he is working to gain sponsorship in the Delaware General Assembly.

“These awards underscore how every Delawarean can have an impact in protecting and conserving our natural resources, while also raising awareness for environmental stewardship,” Carney said in a written statement. “I’m also inspired by the award winners’ dedication to making our state a better place to live through their time and talents, and proud to recognize them for their environmental leadership and innovation.”

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