TORRANCE, Calif., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Sixteen middle and high schools from 12 states have been named winners in the first round of the third annual Lexus Eco Challenge, an educational program and contest that empowers young people to make a positive difference for the environment. Lexus will award a total of $500,000 in grants and scholarships throughout this year's program.
From New York to Hawaii, students demonstrated their commitment to the planet with programs aimed at protecting land and water. Each winning team has earned $10,000 in scholarships and grants to be shared among the students, teacher and school. Their win has also secured each team an invitation to participate in the Final Challenge for a chance at one of two $30,000 grand prizes and 14 $15,000 first-place awards.
"With more than 170 entries in the Lexus Eco Challenge #1, it's clear that the program is achieving its goal of inspiring and empowering teens to learn about the environment and take action to improve it," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "This first round of entries showed innovation, creativity and a commitment to making a positive impact. We can learn a lot from these young people."
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 #1 winning teams that best addressed environmental challenges associated with land and water are listed below (winners listed in alphabetical order by state along with city, team name. school name, and each project's subject). For more project details, visit http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/lexus-and-scholastic-announce-150522.aspx.
High School Teams:
- California (Vista) - "Guajome Girls Preservation Foundation" - Guajome Park Academy - Wetland cleanup
- Florida (Newberry) - "P.A.N.T.H.E.R. - Providing a New Way to Help Environmental Restoration" - Newberry High School - Deforestation and forest destruction
- Hawaii (Honolulu) - "P.O.W.E.R. - Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources" - Farrington High School - Marine debris and dumping
- Kentucky (Stanville) - "EeK-o Addicts" - Betsy Lane High School - Land and water pollution
- Missouri (Kingdom City) - "North Callaway Digital Outreach Program" - North Callaway High School - Recycling and electronics waste
- Missouri (St. Louis) - "Team ECH2O" - Parkway North High School - Water conservation.
- New York (Farmingdale) - "Restoration and Preservation" - Farmingdale High School - Parkland preservation
- New York (LaGrangeville) - "En-Viro-Forcers" - Arlington High School -Threatened Blanding's Turtles
Middle School Teams:
- Connecticut (Newtown) - "Men In Green" - Newtown Middle School - Deforestation
- Florida (Lakeland) - "The Green Team" - Lawton Chiles Middle Academy - Endangered species and loss of biodiversity
- Illinois (Manhattan) - "X-treme Green Growers" - Manhattan Junior High School - Recycling
- Iowa (Charles City) - "Eco Dudes" - Charles City Middle School - Energy efficiency in local hotels
- New Jersey (Phillipsburg) - "A.R.O.T - America Runs on Trees" - Phillipsburg Christian Academy - Composting and landfills
- Texas (Austin) - "Texbridge Eco Leaders" - Burnet Middle School - Landfills, waste management, and recycling
- Utah (Holladay) - "Leaf Terminators" - Olympus Junior High - Leaf disposal.
- Utah (Holladay) - "R.S.V.P. - Recycle at Sports Venues Please" - Olympus Junior High - Recycling and land conservation
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. Challenge #2, which asks students to address the environmental challenges for air and climate, is currently underway and has an entry deadline of Jan. 19, 2010.
In addition to the ongoing contest, 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 (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 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.