Bella's Cookies

Bella’s Cookies Honoring Delaware Young Environmentalists

Bella’s Cookies (a green, organic & vegan bakery) highlights the 2007 winners of Delaware’s Young Environmentalist Awards. Bella’s co-sponsored this year’s awards, presenting winners with a basket of their all-natural and organic cookies.


Milton, DE -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/31/2007 -- Bella’s Cookies of Milton joined the Delaware Department of Natural Resources in co-sponsoring this year’s 2007 DNREC Young Environmentalist Awards. The Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards program was established in 1993 in honor of Dr. Edwin H. Clark II, who served as Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control from 1989 to 1993. The awards are presented annually to Delaware students whose actions over the preceding year have protected, restored or enhanced Delaware's natural resources through innovative projects, and promoting public awareness and by demonstrating environmental stewardship and ethics. Students are nominated by teachers, parents, peers and youth group leaders. Mark Leishear (Director of Sales & Marketing for Bella’s Cookies) said, “early appreciation and concern for the health and well-being of our planet, is a wonderful habit to have, and certainly these young environmentalists will carry it with them for a lifetime. We’re proud of the work from all of this year’s participants in the Young Environmentalist Awards, and are happy to share in the excitement of this year’s winners.”

Twenty-two nominations came in from throughout the state, with judges choosing a winner in each of three age groups. A tie was declared between 10-year-old Tessa Hicks and 10-year-old Matthew Santacecilia in the elementary category. Tessa is described as “an interesting out-of-the-box thinker … extremely interested in wildlife and the environment” by her teacher and nominator Sharon Brubaker. Tessa has been a regular participant in her school’s National Wildlife Federation Frog Watch for the past three years. She shared her knowledge and experience with frogs, toads and salamanders by visiting pre-K classes to introduce 3- and 4-year-olds to amphibians. Matthew lives in Wilmington, has been an active recycler since age 4 and hopes to start a recycling program at his school. To reduce pollution, Matthew walks to school daily and is exploring new fuel ideas for vehicles, such as solar power and magnetic force. Asked why he thinks this work is so important, his explanation is simple – the natural world is our habitat, too. “Without the environment there would be no us,” Matthew said.

Top honors in the middle school category went to Aidan Gause from Harbeson, who aspires to one day work for DNREC. It was a tour of a DSWA Transfer Station that sparked a detailed research project into how the transfer station functions, and its possible effects on a nearby stream. “I wanted to figure it out for myself,” said Aidan, who conducted extensive testing on the area for pollutants.

The winner in the high school category is 18-year-old Nate Reed of West Chester, Pa., a new graduate of Salesianum School in Wilmington. Nate was elected president of the school’s Ecology Club in his senior year. Under his leadership, the club continued to work with the Delaware Nature Society’s Stream Watch program, monitoring the health of the Brandywine stream near the school. The club was also involved in last year’s adoption of the stonefly as state macro invertebrate, with Nate writing one of the letters to the legislature favoring the stonefly.

Each winner was presented with a certificate, a $100 U.S. savings bond, a Delaware State Parks boating pass and a gift basket filled with all-natural and organic cookies from Bella’s Cookies.

For more information on DNREC’s Young Environmentalist Awards, visit, more information on Bella’s Cookies can be found at