The Green Team from the Pittsburgh Zoo wrote a song about climate change as part of their Project Polar Bear activity.

© Pittsburgh Zoo/Polar Bears International

3/22/2016 6:55:44 PM

Project Polar Bear Contest 2016

Right now, hundreds of students from seven schools across the U.S. and around the world are currently in the process of designing and implementing plans to lower their carbon footprints for the sake of polar bears and their habitat. These students are taking part in our Project Polar Bear Contest, an annual competition that invites students to work collaboratively on carbon reduction and climate awareness projects in their schools, homes, and communities.

PBI will announce the winner next month on Earth Day (April 22nd). The winning teams in each age group will receive cash grants to continue funding their projects. In the meantime, all of the teams are hard at work finalizing their plans and putting them into action.

This year's participants have come up with a diverse array of projects which combine direct emissions reduction with efforts to raise climate awareness in the surrounding communities. Here are some examples of the work they've been doing:

  • Planting school gardens. Several schools have been setting up gardens on-site to provide local produce for their schools and teach kids about sustainable practices. One team is experimenting with vermiculture, using food waste to feed worms which will contribute to healthy soil in their gardens. Did you know that meal worms can digest PET plastic bags.
  • Promoting reusable water bottles. One team is focusing on minimizing the sale of bottled water at their local zoo by encouraging concessioners to sell and refill reusable bottles and educating consumers about the impacts of bottled water.
  • Reusing and recycling. A few schools have come up with creative ways to reduce waste in their facilities, from recycling campaigns to projects that repurpose waste as art materials.
  • Building partnerships. Several groups have reached out to other organizations in their communities such as zoos, assisted living facilities, and to partner on carbon reduction projects.
  • Raising awareness. This is a key component of many of the teams' action plans. They have reached out to their communities via social media, creative installations, partner organizations, and more to share the message that we need to take action on climate now. One group even wrote a song about climate change!

These projects not only impact the communities' carbon footprints, but they also provide the opportunity for students to learn about our climate, issues facing our environment, and things we can all do to help.

Good luck to all of the teams and a big paws up to the participating schools for their effort and dedication to helping polar bears and their sea ice habitat. We can't wait to see what you accomplish this year!  

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