Published March 20, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
Student teams across the U.S. were honored today for their innovative environmental programs and rewarded with a total of $500,000 in scholarships and grants through the Lexus Eco Challenge.
Two grand prize winners earned $30,000 each, and eight first place winning teams were awarded $15,000 each.
“The Green Musketeers” from Jericho High School in Jericho, NY, and the “One-Towel Wonders” from SCAPA Bluegrass in Lexington, Ky., were the grand prize winners. “The Green Musketeers” created their own filtration system with the goal of patenting it, selling it, and using profits toward developing systems in third-world countries. The “One-Towel Wonders” demonstrated how a simple idea – using one towel per person, per week – would benefit the environment. For their efforts, each grand prize winner will receive $30,000, of which the school will receive a grant for $7,000, the teacher adviser will get a $3,000 grant, and the students will share $20,000 in scholarships.
The eight first place teams each won $15,000 with $3,000 for the school, $2,000 for the teacher advisor and $10,000 in scholarships for the students.
Amongst the winners were the “Carbonators” from Clark Magnet High School in La Crescenta, Calif. They used ArcGIS to analyze smog levels around the world and how that impacts health. “The Trophic” from Florida’s Miami Palmetto Senior High School focused on reducing carbon dioxide emissions through programs to benefit the land, air and water in their community.
The Lexus Eco 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.