For Immediate Release
Contact: Pete Osborne, ORSSAB Support Office (865) 576-1590

Roane County Student Recognized for Contribution to Oak Ridge Advisory Board

Ryan Burton
Gerald Boyd, DOE-Oak Ridge Assistant Manager for Environmental Management, presents a plaque of appreciation to recent Roane County High School graduate Ryan Burton.

Oak Ridge, Tenn. - June 25, 2002 - Environmental cleanup of the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Oak Ridge Reservation wasn't on Ryan Burton's course list when he started his senior year at Roane County High, but now, a year later, he probably knows more about it than most Roane County residents.

That's because Ryan has just finished his term as a student representative to the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (SSAB), an independent citizens' panel chartered to advise DOE on environmental cleanup at its Oak Ridge Reservation.

Ryan was awarded a plaque of appreciation at a recent SSAB meeting for his contributions to DOE and the board. The plaque was presented by Gerald Boyd, DOE - Oak Ridge Assistant Manager for Environmental Management.

"We really appreciate Ryan taking the time to participate on the SSAB," Boyd said. "Oak Ridge is the only SSAB across the country to have student representatives, and I think it's wonderful that our local high school students have this type of educational opportunity.

Ryan said that being part of the Board was a great learning experience. “As Board members we took tours of various cleanup sites, and that was very educational. I also got to work on some stewardship documents, and that was awesome.”

Ryan and several of his classmates from Roane County High School recently completed a summary of a report on long-term environmental stewardship at DOE's Oak Ridge Reservation. The summary, along with the summary of a companion document done by Oak Ridge High School students, will be distributed to area middle schools and high schools this fall as part of an educational resource kit to help teachers introduce the concept of environmental cleanup to their students.

The SSAB student membership program began in 1999 with one student. The program was then expanded so that one student would be selected each year from Oak Ridge High School, and another would be chosen on a rotating basis from one of the high schools surrounding Oak Ridge. And although the students are non-voting members, they study cleanup issues and participate in meetings and other activities just like voting members.

Two new representatives - Jenna Carignan of Oak Ridge High School and Maurie Douglas of Karns High School - were appointed in May 2002.

Luther Gibson, SSAB Chair, summed up the board's view of students this way. "The legacy of DOE activities on the Oak Ridge Reservation will be with us for a long, long time, so it's crucial that the next generation, as well as those that follow, be informed, active participants in remediation decision-making. As the regional economy is diversified, many will be employed in activities not related to DOE's legacy. We owe it to them to teach them, and they owe it to themselves to take responsibility for the world they are to inherit."

With Ryan's tenure on the SSAB now complete, at least one Roane County student has taken an important step in that direction.