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Aging Questions

  1. Why is EPA focusing effort on older Americans?
  2. What are common environmental hazards that may affect the health of older Americans?
  3. How can individuals get involved in their community to help reduce environmental hazards?
  4. Does the Aging Initiative have any funding opportunities?
  5. How can I stay current on Aging Initiative activities and resources?
  6. Whom can I contact if I have further questions?
  7. What is an intergenerational program?
  8. Why is EPA interested in promoting intergenerational programs?
  9. Are there any examples of intergenerational programs?
  10. How can individuals get involved in intergenerational environmental projects in their communities?
  11. Is EPA working with any national organizations?

Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder Contest

  1. What is the Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder Contest?
  2. Where should I send our intergenerational poetry and/or essay entries?
  3. Where should I send our intergenerational digital photo entry?
  4. What other Information should I include in our entry?
  5. Is there a word or page limit on the poem or essay?
  6. Is there a size limit on the photo entry?
  7. Who retains the rights to the poem, essay, photograph, or video?
  8. Where do I send our dance or song video and how long can it be?
  9. What do the winners receive?
  10. If I still have questions who should I contact?
  11. Can entries come from outside the US, for example Canada?
  12. Does the photo entry require the presence of an older adult and a child?
  13. Can a team take a photograph and then write an essay or poem about the photo?
  14. What is the maximum amount of time allowed for the dance or song video?
  15. Who gets to Dance?
  16. Where is the Dance Happening?
  17. When are the 2013 submission for the contest due?
  18. Can EPA or other federal employees enter the contest?

Why is EPA focusing effort on older Americans?

The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment. Protecting the health of older persons is a priority for the following reasons:

The U.S. is undergoing a demographic transformation. Older population will grow to more than 70 million by 2030.

As we age, our bodies may become more susceptible to environmental hazards because of the diminished capacity of various organ systems that occur in the natural aging process. For example, our bodies are less able to detoxify and eliminate toxins.

In addition, as we age, we are exposed to a lifetime of environmental contaminants capable of persisting and accumulating in our bodies.

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What are common environmental hazards that may affect the health of older Americans?

Common environmental hazards that may especially harm the health of older persons include:

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How can individuals get involved in their community to help reduce environmental hazards?

There are many ways to get involved. An important component of the Aging Initiative is to encourage environmental stewardship among older persons in communities across the country. There are many excellent programs that are already making a difference for the environment.

The Corporation for National and Community Service has a web-based recruitment system that helps to link older persons with volunteer activities in their communities. You can learn more about serving in your community by visiting Senior Corps.

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Does the Aging Initiative have any funding opportunities?

The U.S. EPA Aging Initative posts opportunities on its home page and grant page as opportunities become available. The Aging Initiative website lists funding opportunities from the EPA, other federal agencies, and private foundations.

The U.S. EPA Aging Initiative funded grants and contracts from 2003 to 2011. While there no longer is funding for the Aging Initiative there are other funding opportunities at both EPA and at other federal agencies that potentially could fund projects in the area of environmental health and aging.

For more information read about our funding opportunities.

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How can I stay current on Aging Initiative activities and resources?

The Aging Initiative has an electronic news letter, or list serve, that is sent out monthly. To join, simply sign up. If you do not have an email address, we can send a hard copy to those who request it. Please provide your name and mailing address with this request for a hard copy at aging.info@epa.gov.

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Whom can I contact if I have further questions?

Please contact Kathy Sykes, Senior Advisor, Aging and Sustainability, Office Research and Development, U.S. EPA

Phone: (202) 564-3651

Email aging.info@epa.gov or sykes.kathy@epa.gov

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What is an intergenerational program?

An intergenerational program is one that brings together individuals of different ages as partners to explore, study, and work towards a shared goal. These programs can be youth serving older adults, older adults serving youth, or youth and older adults serving together. Some examples of intergenerational programs are: youth visiting seniors or providing chore service; older adults mentoring youth or providing childcare; and children, youth and older adults performing in a community theater group or working to improve the natural environment.

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Why is EPA interested in promoting intergenerational programs?

The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and safeguard the environment. As part of the Agency’s Aging Initiative, the EPA encourages older persons to volunteer in their own communities to reduce hazards and protect the environment. Including an intergenerational component in a project or activity is an effective way to broaden the pool of people working towards this objective while promoting understanding and unity between generations.

This rationale is at the root of these intergenerational environmental education programs. A variety of promising strategies exist for bringing people if all ages together.

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Are there any examples of intergenerational programs?

Yes, there are examples innovative intergenerational environmental education programs. The following table has profiles of seven innovative intergenerational environmental education programs. Reviewing these initiatives may help you to appreciate the diversity that exists in terms of approaches, organizational frameworks, and settings.

Name of program Prominent focus of activities Generations Involved Location Notes
  1. Intergenerational Outdoor School
Natural environment and wildlife/natural history/civic development Older adults and 4th-6th grades Central Pennsylvania  
  1. Family Friends Environmental Health
Environmental Health Older adults and up to 12 years of age Pennsylvania For children with special needs
  1. Intergenerational Citizens Action Forum
Civic development Older adults and high school ages Miami, Florida  
  1. Habitat Intergenerational Program (HIP)
Environmental community service and learning program Older adults and all ages but primarily seniors and middle school aged children Belmont, Massachusetts Location enhances urban/suburban involvement
  1. Garden Mosaics
Plants and planting practices of age Older adults and ages 10-18 years National/International Youth learn from elders in community, home, and school garden settings
  1. Intergenerational Learning
Environmental concerns and care of land Older adults and 7th grade InternationalVancouver, B.C. Utilize retired farmers
  1. Senior Environmental Corps/Environmental Alliance of Senior Involvement
Streamside monitoring and restoration Older adults and children/youth of all ages National/International  

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How can individuals get involved in intergenerational environmental projects in their communities?

There are several ways to get involved in environmentally focused intergenerational projects. For example, the Corporation for National and Community Service has a web-based recruitment system that helps to link older persons with volunteer activities in their communities. You can also learn about opportunities by contacting the other organizations listed under Intergenerational Resources. Serving in your community could start with a phone call to your senior or community center, conservation or watershed group, or local area aging association.

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Is EPA working with any national organizations?

The EPA is working in partnership with a number of national organizations representing older Americans, professionals in the field of aging, health and aging research, and local community service providers to craft the National Agenda for the Environment and the Aging. We have listed the names of many of these organizations under Non-Governmental Organizations at our Information Sources website.

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What is the Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder Contest?

The U.S. EPA, Generations United, The Dance Exchange, National Center for Creative Aging, the Legacy Project and the Rachel Carson Council, Inc., announce a poetry, essay, photography, song and dance contest "that best expresses the Sense of Wonder that you feel for the sea, the night sky, forests, birds, wildlife, and all that is beautiful to your eyes." We want you to share this love of nature with someone from an older generation or someone younger. When we teach our eyes and ears and senses to focus on the wonders of nature, we open ourselves to the wonders around us.

Entries need to be by a team of at least 2 people from different generations. Teams can be of people who are related or not related to one another.

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Where should I send our intergenerational poetry and/or essay entries?

You mail copies of the poems or essays to

Rachel Carson Intergenerational Contest
U.S. EPA
Attn: Kathy Sykes,
Office of Research and Development
1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Room 41284
Washington, DC 20460

Or send electronic copies

Please include in the Subject box Rachel Carson Contest: Essay, Photography, Poetry, Mixed Media, Song, or Dance Video.

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Where should I send our intergenerational digital photo entry?

Please send your photo entry electronically.

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What other Information should I include in our entry?

Rachel Carson Contest entry form, fill and print (PDF) (2pp, 26K)

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Is there a word or page limit on the poem or essay?

Yes. Maximum is 500 words, about 2 pages.

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Is there a size limit on the photo entry?

No, there is no size limit. Please send one photo per team.

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Who retains the rights to the poem, essay, photograph, or video?

There will be captions under each entry that include the first names of the intergenerational team. The team will retain their rights to use the item for other purposes.

If you include in your entry work created by another person -- for example, copyrighted music or images -- please note that you may need to obtain permission to do so from that person.

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Where do I send our dance or song video and how long can it be?

Videos should be shorter than 4 minutes. If you are submitting a video for the contest, please post your video to your own youtube channel and then send an email.

Here are directions on how to create your own channel.  Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

Be sure to complete the Rachel Carson Contest entry form, fill and print (PDF) (2pp, 232K)

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What do the winners receive?

The winners will be posted on the US EPA website and will receive a certificate from the EPA.

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If I still have questions who should I contact?

If you have further questions please contact Kathy Sykes at (202) 564-3651. Or you may send an email.

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Can entries come from outside the US, for example Canada?

Yes.

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Does the photo entry require the presence of an older adult and a child?

No. The photo can be of nature and not people. However, the entry must include an explanation of how the project was an intergenerational project.

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Can a team take a photograph and then write an essay or poem about the photo?

Yes. The team can have an entry that combines a photo with an essay or poem.

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What is the maximum amount of time allowed for the dance or song video?

Four minutes.

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Who gets to Dance?

Dance video entries are not limited to the moving body. You can use live performers and/ or capture movement and change visible in nature: birds landing, trees shaking in a storm, a river flowing...Experienced and first time dancers and video makers are encouraged to participate.

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Where is the Dance Happening?

Take your cameras outside to capture the sense of wonder you see, experience, and move through in nature. You might capture your own back yard, a favorite spot in your community, or place you have traveled to for an outdoor adventure.

For further questions about dance video entries please contact Cassie Meador.

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When are the 2013 submission for the contest due?

Submissions are due June 10, 2013.

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Can EPA or other federal employees enter the contest?

Yes, anyone may enter the contest.


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