Lexus, Scholastic Announce Winners of The Lexus Environmental Challenge #4

March 03, 2008
March 3, 2008 - Torrance, CA - The fourth and final initial round of the Lexus Environmental Challenge motivated hundreds of middle and high school students nationwide to explore what they can do to help address the climate crisis they hear about so often. Sixteen school teams from eight states were recognized today for their outstanding environmental action plans for the "Global Warming, Local Solutions" Challenge.
 
Each team won $3,000 in scholarships and grants and has been invited to participate in the Final Challenge for a chance to win one of two $75,000 grand prizes. In all, more than $1 million in scholarships and grants will be awarded. The teams' winning Action Plans are posted on the Challenge's Web site (www.scholastic.com/Lexus) to help inspire other young people to make a difference in their own communities.
 
"In all, we've received 350 entries during the Challenge, representing a tremendous amount of positive environmental action across the country," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "We think this level of participation proves that young people are ready to make a difference, and Lexus is pleased that this program is driving them to take action."

For each of the challenges, teams were required to define an environmental issue that is important to them, develop an action plan to address the issue, implement the plan, and report on the results. The Challenge #4 winners who best addressed "Global Warming, Local Solutions" are:

High Schools Teams:
"Water Wizards" Cate School, Carpinteria, Calif.: Raised awareness about the need to reduce the community's carbon footprint by conducting energy audits in their school's dorms and reporting the results at student assemblies. Promoted the use of compact fluorescent bulbs in dorms, classrooms, and some of the administration's offices on campus.

"RelightNY" Collegiate School, New York, NY: Distributed nearly 15,000 compact fluorescent bulbs to low or fixed income families, contributing to the reduction of an estimated 1.5 million pounds of carbon emissions.

"Greenery" Herricks High School, New Hyde Park, NY: Raised interest in the reduction of carbon emissions by communicating the cause via fliers, a public library exhibit, and a feature in the school newspaper.

"Reducing 4 More!" Herricks High School, New Hyde Park, NY: Educated students and community members about reducing the use of plastic bags, plastic bottles, paper, and paper bags with extensive flier, e-mail, and Web-based campaigns.

"Vampire Exterminators" Herricks High School, New Hyde Park, NY: Raised awareness about "vampire electronics," the devices powered by plugs that continue to siphon energy from the electrical socket, even when they are not in use. The message reached 17 fourth and fifth grade classes as well as approximately 700 additional members of the community.

"Team Earth" Lyceum Academy of NHHS, Wilmington, N.C.: Informed the community about the global, environmental benefits of reforestation via educational pamphlets, a bake sale, and a raffle, which raised more than $300 for Nicaragua's reforestation project.

"Manalapan High School Environmental Club (S.A.V.E.)" Manalapan High School, Englishtown, N.J.: Focused on fighting deforestation and boosting recycling. The team launched a cell phone and ink cartridge recycling drive, organized an assembly, planted 25 baby pine trees, placed eight recycling bins at school, sold 43 T-shirts to students and families, and saved 4.3 acres in the Osa Peninsula Rainforest.

"The Green Gators" The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, Pa.: Increased awareness about the importance of driving with properly inflated tires. Fliers, an in-school assembly, and a popular Facebook group helped educate the community about a simple tactic to help reduce carbon emissions!

"The Ones Who Care" Sierra Vista High School, Baldwin Park, Calif.: Researched the greenhouse effect and global warming then conducted an after-school program for their school's sixth grade. Program included a slide show, discussion and a drawing contest to gauge what the audience had learned.

"Westminster CCC4" The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, Ga.: Pursued efforts to help the campus become more energy efficient as well as establishing a bus system for school commuters. Promoted participation in the Atlanta Green Cup Challenge, an event organized to help reduce energy bills at two competing schools.

Middle Schools Teams:
"The Climate Academy" - Academy I, Jersey City, NJ: Encouraged others to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions in their daily lives by creating an informational PSA that reached an audience of more than 70,000 people.

"The Waterboys" Bogle Junior High School, Chandler, Ariz.: Raised awareness via fliers about the efficiency of using compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) instead of incandescent alternatives.

"Don't Dis Methane" The Mott Hall School, New York, NY: Researched methane's contributions to global warming and then presented a lesson to its school's fifth graders. Pre- and post surveys showed students' knowledge about the impact greenhouse gases increased by 100 percent.

"R.O.S.E." Rugby Middle School, Hendersonville, N.C.: Addressed the spread of the Oriental Bittersweets, an aggressive vine threatening the health of trees and other vegetation in their nearby park. Collected 200 strands of the vine, 200 of its berries, picked up along the way, and started an environmental action club on campus.

"The Skomajomas" SCAPA Bluegrass, Lexington, Ky.: Educated the school and community about how inflating tires properly leads to less energy consumption and carbon emissions. Circulated fliers and e-mail messages, as well as placed print and online ads in their community newspaper.

"Enviro-mentals" West Branch Area School District – Morrisdale, Pa.: Addressed climate change and carbon dioxide emissions by organizing an educational assembly for their peers, recycling 102 pounds of newspaper and magazines, and obtaining two composting bins for the school.
 
The Lexus Environmental Challenge launched on Sept. 10, 2007, and concludes with the announcement of the first-place and grand-prize-winning teams in April in conjunction with Earth Day. All 55 winning teams are hard at work on the Final Challenge, with entries due on March 24.
 
In addition to the ongoing contest, the Lexus Environmental Challenge also includes educational materials designed by Scholastic to encourage teachers to integrate creative lesson plans into their classrooms to help teach students about the environment. For each challenge, the Web site (www.scholastic.com/lexus) has lesson plans and teacher instructions including questions to help guide a discussion about the current challenge topic, facts about the topic, and guidelines for a specific classroom project.
 
The Lexus Environmental Challenge was created by Lexus and Scholastic to educate and empower students to take action to improve the environment It is part of The Lexus Pursuit of Potential, a philanthropic initiative that generates $3 million in donations each year for organizations that help build, shape and improve children's lives.

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