Lexus announces first round of Eco Challenge winners

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Lexus hybrid concept

For the past five years, automaker Lexus has hosted the Lexus Eco Challenge as 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.

In this challenge, students across the country are encouraged to showcase how they can change the world. In the sixth annual contest, sixteen student teams from eleven states have been named winners and Lexus will be awarding $500,000 in grants and scholarships to be shared amongst students, teachers and the school.

“Creating a better world takes passionate people and the Lexus Eco Challenge is helping students find that passion at an early age,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager, in a press release. “By looking closely at the world around them, and taking steps to improve their environment, students gain a new perspective and develop the tools they need to make a positive impact throughout their lives.”

The first challenge addressed land and water related challenges. The winners were:

High School Teams:

  • California (La Crescenta) – “The EcoNarcs” – Clark Magnet High – Researched the negative environmental effects of illegal marijuana growers.
  • California (Roseville) – “The Green Bandits” – Woodcreek High – Built worm bins to experiment with vermicomposting.
  • Florida (Hollywood) – “McArthur Techletes” — McArthur High School – Developed a water conservation program for their community.
  • Florida (Miami) – “Trophic Troopers” – Miami Palmetto –Addressed the effects of electronics disposal in landfills on water quality.
  • Massachusetts (Boston) “Conservation Nation” – Boston Latin School — Created a school-wide food composting pilot program for the Boston Public Schools.
  • Missouri (Eureka) – “Honeysuckle Hunters” – Eureka High – Conducted a nature study and removed non-native honeysuckle from a creek near their school.
  • New York (LaGrangeville) – “Elymenators” – Arlington High — Evaluated how Lyme Disease affects biodiversity in their community.
  • Ohio (West Geauga) – “The Take Charge Team” – West Geauga High –Established a program to keep batteries out of local landfills.

Middle School Teams:

  • Florida (Lakeland) – “Can You HEAR Me Now?”– Lawton Chiles Middle Academy– Collected hearing aids to prevent them from going into landfills.
  • Florida (Lakeland) – “Pesticide Awareness Team” – Lawton Chiles Middle Academy — Presented educational programs to promote the proper use of pesticides.
  • Iowa (Charles City) – “The Green Team” – Charles City Middle School – Coordinated an electronics drive to keep harmful items out of landfills.
  • Michigan (Harper Woods) – “ECKH20 Preservers” – Harper Woods Middle School – Studied water quality of the Great Lakes.
  • New Jersey (Jersey City) – “Project Reservoir” – Christa McAuliffe School – Studied natural ways to decrease mosquito populations in a local reservoir.
  • New Jersey (New Egypt) – “Eco-Warriors for the World” – New Egypt Middle School — Launched a food composting program at their school. .
  • Utah (Holladay) – “R4E: Recycle for the Earth” – Olympus Jr. High – Raised awareness to the importance of recycling.
  • Utah (Holladay) – “Kookaburras” – Olympus Jr. High – Made birdhouses to assist native birds from non-native species to protect biodiversity.

The second challenge will pertain to air and climate and the entry deadline is Dec. 17, 2012.

Susmita is a writer and editor in the Greater New York City area. In her spare time, Susmita enjoys cooking, traveling, dappling in photography, art history and interior design, and moonlighting as a therapist for her loved ones.