Innovation in Environmental Stewardship Award

Marstel-Day launched the Innovation in Environmental Stewardship Award at the University of Mary Washington (UMW) in the fall of 2014. The $1500 award is an opportunity to support research and creative problem solving of today’s environmental challenges by a rising junior or senior at UMW. There are many problems facing our environment today – locally and globally – from plastics in the ocean, to global warming, to pollution in the Chesapeake. We want to spark the next generation’s creativity and give them an opportunity to choose a problem and tackle it from their unique perspective.


Past Winners and Their Projects




Maria Morran (Junior)

Maria chose to tackle the problem of plastics in the ocean from a research perspective. She recognized that there are various efforts underway to clean up ocean plastics, but there is no comprehensive database to learn about the varying efforts and their success. This realization prompted her to collect information on the various projects, legislation, and studies related to ocean plastics clean up and compile them into the Plastic Information Global Index or PIGI. The final results was shared via presentation with staff at Marstel-Day.

Samuel Fortier (Junior)

Sam Fortier also chose to examine the problem of plastics in the ocean. His project included researching ways countries and organizations address plastic waste and the cost that is incurred through the process. He narrowed his research to the top ten countries that contribute to ocean plastic pollution, how they are addressing this challenge, and analysis of the effectiveness of each strategy. The database he created led him to his final takeaway, a proposal to create a global action fund and to increase waste education.



Maggie Magliato (Junior)

Maggie was a rising junior at UMW when she won the award. Her project was to design educational signage to post around the campus. These signs educate the public and students about the importance of native ecosystems to pollinators, why there should be no mow zones, and threats to pollinators. She collaborated with the landscape department at UMW to place these signs in effective locations along the Campus Walk where there were already native plants and no mow zones. She wrapped up her project by leading a walking tour that showcased the importance of each of these areas and how the signs highlighted their impact on the ecosystem.



Amanda Gambale (Sophmore)*

Living in this area it is hard not to appreciate the bounty provided by the Chesapeake Bay. Amanda’s project is examining why there has been a decline in the blue crab population in recent years. She will be conducting research and writing a research paper on the possible causes and ways to test out these theories via future experiments.

*First year opened to sophomores.