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School for the Creative and Performing Arts at Bluegrass has produced two winning teams in this year’s Lexus Eco Challenge – both in the air/climate division. Each group secured a $10,000 prize and will compete in the 32-team final challenge, which also includes middle and high school winners in the land/water division.
The Green Freaks (Landon Feese, Madison Jones, Bradley Queen, Grace Shaftner, Maggie Thomas, Alexia Umberger and Elizabeth Yates) surveyed SCAPA students and discovered that 73 percent throw away plastic bags every day at lunch. This plastic ultimately ends up in landfills, where it can take hundreds of years to break down. The Green Freaks set out with brochures, posters and social media to persuade fellow students to switch to reusable lunch containers instead.
Through their research, the Eco-Excitement team (Presley Gookin, Marissa Grace, Abbie Higgins, Katelyn Mofield, Matthew Pellegrino, Margaret Scripps and Callaway Stivers) learned that meat consumption accounts for 18 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. And, according to the Environmental Defense Fund, if every American skipped one meal of chicken a week, it would save the same amount of CO2 emissions as taking half a million cars off U.S. roads. So this team hosted a “Meatless Tuesday” event at SCAPA, reducing CO2 emissions by nearly 280 pounds that day. Students also spread the word about this strain on the environment through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and a website.
Each team will divide its $10,000 prize with $1,000 to adviser Ashlie Beals Arkwright for school-related supplies and science initiatives, $7,000 evenly split among the team members and $2,000 to SCAPA.
The Eco Challenge is an educational program and national contest that inspires and empowers students to learn about the environment and take action to improve it. In the final round, eight first-place teams will each receive $15,000, while two grand prize winners will take home $30,000 apiece for scholarships and school supplies. For more information, visit lexus.scholastic.com.
This is the sixth year that SCAPA has participated, with a total of six first-round winners. Last year the One-Towel Wonders also earned a top prize in the final challenge.