All Winning Teams Invited to Participate in the Final Challenge for a Chance at One of Two $30,000 Grand Prizes
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.
“Since launching the Lexus Eco Challenge three years ago, we’ve enjoyed watching as thousands of students have stepped up to protect our environment, and this latest round of entries did not disappoint us,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “We’ve been impressed, humbled, and most of all, inspired by the dedication of the teams and their teacher advisors.”
For each of the challenges, teams are 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 #2 winning teams that best addressed environmental challenges associated with air and climate were:
High School Winners:
Florida (Newberry) – “P.A.N.T.H.E.R. – Providing a New Way to Help Environmental Restoration” – Newberry High School – Created a “green” Christmas initiative in their community that included a Green Ribbon Week and pledge drive, presentations on how to conserve energy and use alternative energy sources, and outreach to encourage people to sign a petition supporting a nationwide effort to break America’s dependence on foreign oil.
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.
Middle School Winners:
Florida (Boca Raton) - “Tap In Too” – Logger’s Run Middle School – Addressed how disposable water bottles impact climate change. Through presentations, games, a video, and a Web site, the team convinced 57 percent of participating students to switch to reusable water bottles, while 73 percent reported a reduction in disposable water bottle use at home and at school. Packaged the educational program for other schools to use.
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 (East Greenbush) – “Goff Gone Green” – Howard L. Goff Middle School – Educated local elementary students about the danger of overusing fossil fuels and the importance of conservation. Built trees out of recyclables and invited students to add a leaf each time they took positive action for the environment. Made two 3D models: one to show how the community would look in 100 years if they practiced conservation and one to show what it would look like if they didn’t.
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.
In addition to the ongoing contest, the Lexus Eco Challenge also includes educational materials developed by Scholastic to encourage teachers to integrate creative lesson plans into their classrooms to help teach students about the environment. For each challenge, the website (www.scholastic.com/lexus
) has lesson plans and teacher instructions including questions to help guide a discussion about the current challenge, facts about the topic, and guidelines for a specific classroom project.
The Lexus Eco Challenge is part of The Lexus Pursuit of Potential, a philanthropic initiative that generates up to $3 million in donations each year for organizations that help build, shape and improve children’s lives.