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2023 Delaware State Fair DNREC awards 1536x1245 2

Young Environmentalists, Youth Anglers Honored At Delaware State Fair

Three Delaware students from schools across the state were recognized with Young Environmentalists of the Year Awards. A program of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the awards were presented today by Governor John Carney and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin to the students, ages 10 to 17, in front of a crowd of fairgoers at the Delaware State Fair. The leaders also presented trophies to the top anglers of the 2023 Youth Fishing Tournament.

“Every year, I look forward to meeting our Young Environmentalist award honorees. These amazing young people are truly today’s environmental leaders, showing the way to a better future for Delaware and for our planet. This year, we are recognizing students who are leading efforts in protecting marine habitat, recycling, and reducing plastics use,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “In addition, the top three young anglers from our annual Youth Fishing Tournament have discovered the joy of catching a fish – and experienced the meaningful conservation act of releasing their catch.”

The three 2023 Young Environmentalists of the Year recognized today are:

  • Elementary School:
    Spencer Tuxward, age 10, of Wyoming, 4th grade, W. Reily Brown Elementary School, Dover
    As an active member of his school’s Eco-Team, Spencer is a role model for his fellow students, and is involved in recycling, feeding birds, growing vegetables in the school garden and promoting good stewardship of the school and grounds. Described as a “self-made environmentalist,” he also creates video presentations that reflect his love of nature. Spencer is especially interested in marine life, volunteering to rescue sea turtles and making and sharing videos about his work.
  • Special Recognition:
    Chris Runde, age 17, of Milton,12th grade, Cape Henlopen High School, Lewes
    On his own initiative, to help his community learn more about recycling, Chris looked into options for recycling cell phones and other rechargeable devices with lithium-ion batteries. He found Redwood Materials, a company that produces anode and cathode components from recycled batteries, and they sent Chris the materials to host a recycling initiative he launched on April 22, Earth Day 2023. In one day, he collected more than 300 pounds of old batteries and rechargeable devices and plans to do more community collections.
  • High School:
    Iveena Mukherjee, age 16, of Wilmington, 12th grade, Charter School of Wilmington
    Going into her senior year, Iveena is known for her “unwavering dedication to environmental conservation, advocacy and activism,” and has been recognized nationally and internationally, including honorable mention for the President’s Environmental Youth Award and a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Volunteer Award. Described as “a leading voice in youth activism,” the young scientist is actively seeking solutions to mitigate climate impacts, such as exploring the potential of biochar and epoxy resin to reduce plastic use, as well as leading a team that earned funding to continue a project studying RECON, a sustainable building material for carbon sequestration. Iveena has also been an integral part in her school’s Science Olympiad team, as well as creating five workshops for Delaware’s annual Youth Environmental Summit (YES!).

Now in its 30th year, DNREC’s Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards program recognizes Delaware students whose actions have helped protect, restore or enhance our natural resources by initiating an innovative project, practicing environmental stewardship, increasing public awareness or demonstrating environmental ethics. More information about the program can be found at

Youth Fishing Tournament New Castle County winner Michael Hopkins, with his proud mom, Courtney Hopkins. /DNREC photo
Youth Fishing Tournament New Castle County winner Michael Hopkins, with his proud mom, Courtney Hopkins. /DNREC photo

The 2023 Youth Fishing Tournament winners who were presented their trophies today are:

  • Statewide and Sussex County winner Brody Spencer, age 11, of Dagsboro, took top honors by catching 8.52 pounds of fish in Ingrams Pond.
  • Kent County winner Bristol Brown, age 10, of Lewes, came in second place statewide, catching 6.87 pounds of fish at Akridge Scout Reservation Pond, including the largest fish of the tournament, a 5.6-pound largemouth bass.
  • New Castle County winner Michael Hopkins, age 8, of New Castle, took third place statewide, catching 3.47 pounds of fish at Lums Pond.

Established by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife and sponsored by the Delaware Natural Resources Police, the tournament introduces youth to the sport of fishing and teaches the catch-and-release approach to conservation. The 37th annual Youth Fishing Tournament was held June 3 at three locations, one in each county: Ingrams Pond in Sussex County, Akridge Scout Reservation in Kent County, and Lums Pond in New Castle County, with complete results here: Delaware Natural Resources Police Announce Winners of Youth Fishing Tournament.

More information about the annual tournament is available at

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on FacebookInstagramTwitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson,; Michael Globetti,

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