Environmental Educator Wins 2nd Annual Harrisburg Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award Camp Hill man lauded for using his green thumb to teach others about eco–friendliness

Harrisburg, PA (April 11, 2013) – Direct Energy, PennLive and The Patriot–News of PA Media Group are honoring Paul Garrett of Camp Hill, PA as Harrisburg's second annual Volunteer Citizen of the Year. Garrett, a retired school teacher and Master Gardner, educates students and adults on environmental issues. He is also the co–leader for the annual production of the Mechanicsburg Earth Day Festival and is currently engaged in the development of the Mechanicsburg Area School District's Trails and Trees Environmental Center, a 26–acre indoor and outdoor site that includes natures trails, classrooms, living nature specimens and alternative energy sources.

In th past 20 years, Garrett has founded many environmental groups in the Mechanicsburg area, utilizing his expertise in organic gardening, recycling, wildlife education, water quality, conversation and waste management. His teachings are so inspiring that his students often become educators themselves and encourage their friends and families to do the same. An example of Garrett's influence is in the public schools of the Mechanicsburg area. Garrett's 'Green Teams' have established the Organic Teaching Gardens, a series of garden plots that are maintained by Garrett, students and families year round. From these garden plots, over 1,000 pounds of produce are given to a local food agency to assist the less–fortunate in the community.

Garrett's talents extend beyond the garden as he is also active with the Conodoguinet Creek Watershed Association, and he organizes frequent stream clean–ups that have resulted in the removal of many tons of trash and hundreds of tires from the Conodoguinet Creek. Not to leave land quality aside, Garrett also recuits roadside clean–up crews on a regular basis. Further, Garrett created Green–CAUSE, an online educational tool that brings together municipal green organizations in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties to facilitate the sharing of information and to promote green living and sustainable practices.

By winning the Harrisburg Volunteer Citizen of the Year award, Garrett will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a $5,000 donation to the Mechanicsburg Area School District's Trails and Trees Environmental Center. The donation will be used to finish the science laboratory in the center, providing a unique and scholastic experience for students.

"The nominations received for this year's program certainly did not disappoint and it was extremely difficult to narrow them down to just one winner," said Sayed Khoja, commercial director for Direct Energy. "Garrett's devotion to teaching others sustainable practices and organizing community clean–ups is crucial to our environment, as well as an inspiration to others that want to live a greener life."

"We are happy to honor Garrett in this way and for his efforts to make our community a cleaner, safer place to live," said John Kirkpatrick, president of PA Media Group.

A special event honoring Paul Garrett will be held at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building Main Rotunda on Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 at 6:00 pm. Representatives from Direct Energy, PennLive and The Patriot–News will be on hand to present Paul with his award. The Pennsylvania State Capitol Building is located at North 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120.

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy–related services providers with more than 6 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE:CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 46 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada. For more information, please visit www.directenergy.com

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About PA Media Group

PA Media Group is central Pennsylvania's top local news source as a digital–first media company comprised of trusted brands, including The Patriot–News, a multi award–winning newspaper serving central Pennsylvania for over 150 years; PennLive.com, central Pennsylvania's number one news website with real–time information and nearly 2.5 million unique visitors monthly; Central PA Magazine, a bimonthly lifestyle, arts, and culture magazine reaching 35,000 households; and a host of Web apps and e–newsletters that together ensure central Pennsylvania has 24/7 access to what is happening locally and in their world. PA Media Group is owned by Advance Publications, Inc. To learn more, visit www.thepamediagroup.com.

For further information, please contact:
Julie Hendry
Direct Energy