Lexus And Scholastic Announce Winners Of The Lexus Environmental Challenge #3

February 1, 2008 - Torrance, CA - Green roofs, radon pollution, toxic cleaning products and mold spores are just some of topics addressed when middle and high school students nationwide implemented plans as part of the third phase of the Lexus Environmental Challenge, a program designed by Lexus and Scholastic to educate and empower students to take action to improve the environment. Sixteen school teams from nine states were recognized today for their outstanding environmental action plans for "The Air Factor" Challenge, the third of four challenges.
Each team wins $3,000 in scholarships and grants as well as an invitation 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 ( to help inspire other young people to make a difference in their own communities.
"One of our favorite parts of this program is reading the Action Plans and seeing what students have to say about the lessons they've learned," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "Not only are they learning about the specific environmental issue they chose to address, but even more important, they're learning about teamwork and that they have the power to make a difference."
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 #3 winners who best addressed "The Air Factor" are:

High School Teams:

• "CCA EcoClub" – Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego, Calif.: Developed the "Pump Up Your Effort" campaign to educate people about how improper tire pressures impact fuel economy and emissions.

• "Edgemont Environmental Club" - Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School, Scarsdale, N.Y.: Researched the benefits of using green roofs, installed green roof boxes on the campus, and educated the community about the positive impact green roofs can make.

• "O3 Rectifiers" – Herricks High School, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: Created "Computers Need Sleep Too!" campaign to encourage people to shut down their computers to help slow the depletion of the ozone. Program included a blog, posters and fliers that reached more than 1,000 members of the community.

• "Team Earth" - Lyceum Academy of NHHS, Wilmington, N.C.: Created a lunchtime exhibit to educate fellow students about the environmental impact of everyday cleaning products on indoor air quality. Started a blog to educate a wider audience.

• "Terra Tutela" - Lyceum Academy of NHHS, Wilmington, N.C.: Polled more than 150 residents regarding smoking in restaurants. Used the data to generate support for a ban on smoking in restaurants including sending statistics to the Governor.

• "Newberry Environmental Girls" – Newberry High School, Newberry, Fla.: Introduced students to the environmental and health impact of indoor and outdoor air pollution through two-day lessons that included a PowerPoint presentation, lab activity and homework.

• "Magnificent 7" – Northwood High School, Minong, Wisc.: Raised awareness about the causes of smog and outdoor air pollution in their community through conducting surveys, distributing posters, adminstering lung capacity tests, giving speeches and testing the level of smog in the community.

• "The Ones Who Care" – Sierra Vista High School, Baldwin Park, Calif.: Created brochures, fliers and stickers to educate their school and surrounding communities about air pollution from car emissions and the improper disposal of electronics.

• "L.I.F.E." – South High School, Torrance, Calif.: Conducted a grassroots campaign to gain support for the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 through educating their local community about the pollution and health impacts of a local landfill.

• "WestminsterCCC3" – The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, Ga.: Reduced Westminster's air pollution by carpooling, trimming excess energy use on campus, increasing the number of trees on campus, reducing use of paper, and reducing the amount of toxins in the air caused by the school's garbage and other wastes.

Middle School Teams:

• "Barna's Bunch" – Phillipsburg Christian Academy, Phillipsburg, N.J.: Gathered data about the impact of cleaning products on the school's air quality and then researched viable "green" alternatives to present to the school board for consideration.

• "Save Your Breath" – Phillipsburg Christian Academy, Phillipsburg, N.J.: Developed a presentation for the school board to persuade them to purchase air purifiers and better vents for three bathrooms on campus that have poor air quality due to poor ventilation.

• "Mold Patrol" – The Mott Hall School, New York, N.Y.: Conducted research in their community to determine how many families were impacted by mold in their homes. Educated people about how to get rid of mold safely and how to prevent it from growing in the first place.

• "No Car Day" – Olympus Junior High, Holladay, Utah: Planned a "No Car Day" to raise awareness about pollution caused my autos and encourage students to walk or bike to school. On the event day, there were 50 percent fewer cars during the morning drop off time.

• "Radon Awareness Group" – Olympus Junior High, Holladay, Utah: Educated the community about the harmful effects of radon through informational fliers and kits. Obtained and distributed coupons for free radon test kits.

• "St. Margaret's Science Club" – St. Margaret's Catholic School, Lake Charles, La.: Challenged the entire school to join Energy Star's Change a Bulb, Change the World campaign through fliers, a web site, news releases, skits, kindergarten outreach and political cartoons. They received 103 pledges equaling more than 1,500 changed light bulbs, 433,434 kWh in energy savings and an estimated reduction in green house gas emissions of 628,633 pounds.

The Lexus Environmental Challenge launched on Sept. 10, 2007, and concludes with the announcement of the finalist and grand-prize-winning teams in April in conjunction with Earth Day. Winning teams for Challenges #4 will be announced soon.

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 ( 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 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.