TORRANCE, Calif., Feb. 26, 2010 – Creating rain gardens, building a biodiesel processor, and promoting the use of solar chimneys were some of the actions taken by the winning teams in the second round of the Lexus Eco Challenge, an educational program and contest that empowers young people to make a positive difference for the environment. The 15 winning middle and high schools teams in Challenge #2 were awarded $10,000 each and are now qualified to participate in the Final Challenge for a chance at one of two $30,000 grand prizes and eight $15,000 first-place awards. In all, Lexus will award a total of $500,000 in grants and scholarships throughout this year’s program. All award money is shared among the students, teacher advisor and school.
Georgia (Atlanta) – “Westminster Greencats” – The Westminster Schools - Zeroed in on reducing greenhouse gases, investing in renewable energy sources, and educating the community about the benefits of both. Organized a “Carpool to School Day,” initiated an energy audit of their school, encouraged the community to turn off unnecessary lights and purchased solar panels for the school.
Hawaii (Honolulu) – “LEXgo” – W.R. Farrington High School - Focused on educating others about how to preserve and save the Earth. Collected 24 bags of recyclable cans and bottles, 200 lbs. of recycled newspapers, and 51 lbs. of waste at Laoha ‘Aina Earth Day and Kalihi-Palama Stream Clean Up. Developed a number of presentations for nearby elementary schools and spread their messages via YouTube, Facebook, Weebly, Twitter and MySpace.
Illinois (Chicago) – “McAuley EcoMacs: Operation Haiti” – Mother McAuley High School – Built a biodiesel processor and solar-thermal heating system. Raised awareness about the benefits of alternative energy sources through classroom presentations, media outreach, and communication with elected officials. Raised funds for Haiti earthquake recovery.
Missouri (St. Louis) – “Team Neon” – Parkway North High School –Addressed global warming and the destruction of natural prairies. Distributed “Rain Gardens in a Bag” to area schools, launched an educational Web site, designed lesson plans and worksheets for teachers, and wrote letters to legislators requesting positive action for the environment.
New Jersey (Manalapan) – “Project Blue Sky” – Manalapan High School - Focused on informing the community about renewable energy sources. Organized a school-wide assembly to teach about fossil fuels and renewable energy, sold CFL light bulbs, reusable water bottles and green cards, and launched an educational Web site.
Pennsylvania (Souderton) – “SAVE – Students Against Violating the Earth” – Souderton Area High School – Designed and built solar chimneys, which showed that energy efficiency can be simple, low-tech and inexpensive. Convinced a local bank to install a solar chimney on a new building and worked with an architect to include solar chimneys on a new development in Tortola.
Utah (Orem) – “R.A.W.R – Rocky-Mountain Area Wildlife Research” – Timpanogos High School – Set up an environmental research site and established research protocols to teach students about the effects climate change has on their local community. Launched a Web site and Facebook page to tell others about the research results.
Kentucky (Lexington) – “E.F.B.S. – Eco-Friendly Bag Savers” – SCAPA Bluegrass – Focused on the impact of plastic and paper bags on the environment and encouraged their community to switch to reusable bags instead. Spread their message by creating posters, developing a Web site, sending e-mails and launching a Facebook group.
New York (Rosedale) – “The Eco Team” – PS 270 – Organized and promoted a weekly “Ride Your Bike to School Day” on their campus to reduce air pollution. By week five, more than 140 students and their parents were participating.
South Carolina (Hanahan) – “HMS Hawks” – Hanahan Middle School - Focused on conserving fossil fuels by reducing energy use. Organized and promoted “Hanahan Blackout,” reducing the school’s energy consumption by 30 percent on that day. Made and sent 250 paper lanterns to the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Created a Web site that invited people to register and record how many CFL light bulbs they’d installed.
Utah (Holladay) – “Unplug the Thug” – Olympus Junior High - Developed an “Unplug the Thug” sticker to put on cell phone chargers to encourage people to unplug their charger at the same time they unplug their cell phone. Distributed stickers throughout their school and aligned with Rocky Mountain Power for outreach and education to the utility’s 1.7 million users.
Wisconsin (Milwaukee) – “Bayside Pollution Revolution” – Bayside Middle School - Organized and promoted “Black Out Day” to encourage people to reduce their energy use and conserve fuel. Spread their message through posters, chain e-mails, surveys, and a social networking Web site.
This year’s Lexus Eco Challenge launched on Sept. 28, 2009, and concludes with the announcement of the first place and grand-prize-winning teams during Earth Month in April 2010. All winners from Challenges #1 and #2 have been invited to participate in the Final Challenge with an entry deadline of March 16, 2010.
Lexus is the leading luxury automaker in the United States. With its reputation for high-quality products and exemplary customer service from its 228 dealers, Lexus has been the top-selling luxury automaker for ten years in a row. In addition, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader, now offering four hybrids that provide the best in innovative technology and first-class luxury. When Lexus was established in 1989, it offered two models of vehicles. Now, more than 20 years later, Lexus offers variations of 11 vehicles, from the entry-level IS 250 to its first V10 supercar, the LFA.
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology and children's media. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and school-based book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, television networks and the Company’s Internet Site, www.scholastic.com.