SUBMITTED — Individuals and businesses from across the state were recognized recently during the 2017 Alabama PALS (Partners Against a Littered State) Governors awards. As Gov. Kay Ivey stated, these are the people who “have actively contributed to keeping Alabama beautiful.”

Don Bates and Thompson Engineering were awarded the “Coastal Cleanup Award” for their tremendous efforts introducing and facilitating the rigid plastics’ recycling program during the 2017 Alabama Coastal Cleanup. Also, related to this new recycling effort, Yael Girard, executive director of the Weeks Bay Foundation received the “Vulcan Volunteer of the Year Award” for the time and effort she put in to coordinating all of the Coastal Cleanup recycling activities. Under this new initiative, volunteers collected 2,000 pounds of rigid plastics that will be made into new toiletry products from Proctor and Gamble.

Pictured with their awards are (from left): Chris Blankenship, commissioner, ADCNR; Yael Girard, executive director, Weeks Bay Foundation; Don Bates, Vice President of Operations, Thompson Engineering; Angela Underwood, education coordinator, Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Patti Powell, state lands division director, ADCNR.