Jackson Elementary School's prize-winning environmentalists have added another prize to their collection.

The school's Extended Learning Program has been recognized as the Region 8 winner in the President's Environmental Youth Award contest. The award was announced by the EPA regional office in Denver. Over the past few years, the school has won five national recognitions as well as more than 20 local and regional awards.Teacher Barbara Lewis, who has involved her students in various social and environmental causes, said the latest award proves her contention that "children can do amazing things, because they don't know all the reasons adults use to say they can't be done."

Lewis predicts that during the "decade of the child" youngsters will become more involved in social issues. "They deserve a voice. They have a fresh view," she said.

Lewis and student Josh Aguila will go to Washington, D.C., Nov. 13-15 for an award ceremony and other activities, including visits to congressmen and sites of interest.

In addition to the Jackson award, Hawthorne Elementary School was a third-place winner in the Mountain West region. Hawthorne's students were involved in a number of environmental projects that they dubbed "HELP." Both schools are in the Salt Lake District.

The Jackson program raised $3,500 to help children throughout Utah plant trees. The students were concerned with vanishing rain forests throughout the world and wanted to see more trees in their own state.

The group applied for two mini neighborhood block grants of $1,800 each and matched them with other money for a total of $4,320. They then adopted Washington Park on Salt Lake City's north side for a special tree-planting project and planted trees near their school.

During the 1990 legislative session, the Jackson students asked a legislator to sponsor a bill called "Leaf it to us," creating a $10,000 pool that students can match to obtain trees for planting. They also have enlisted the help of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to create a national tree fund to support President Bush's initiative to plant a billion trees across the country.

The Utah students are winners in a region that includes Utah, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. There are 10 regions nationwide.