4/22/2015 3:12:27 PM
Winners in PBI’s Project Polar Bear Contest Show Leadership in Reducing CO2
Bozeman, MT (April 22nd, 2015) - Polar Bears International (PBI), a conservation group dedicated to sustaining a future for polar bears, announced the winners today in its Project Polar Bear Contest, a five-month-long competition that challenges teams of young people to design and carry out long-lasting community projects that reduce CO2.
Marissa Krouse, programs manager at PBI, and Kathy Donahue, Project Polar Bear coordinator, announced the winners in a special Google+ Hangout as part of PBI's Earth Day celebration. Alysa McCall, a biologist who studies wild polar bears in Canada, joined the hangout. McCall praised the teams for their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and answered questions from students about her work.
"It is essential that we engage youth throughout the world to encourage their interest, creativity, and enthusiasm, and to help them develop skills to carry out sustainable community projects," said Donahue. "This year, we had teams from India, Spain, New Zealand, Kenya, Canada, and the United States. The teams were diverse, including family groups, after-school clubs, entire classrooms, and zoo youth programs. Participants ranged in age from pre-school to high school. The kids were awesome and so were their mentors. They encouraged the students to overcome challenges to make their projects successful."
A panel of contest judges chose the winners, awarding cash grants to the top-scoring teams to help them carry on their projects:
"We had a lot of great entries, which made it hard to choose," said Krouse. "The judges based their final decisions on how successful and creative teams were in engaging their communities, and on their plans to sustain their projects and build upon what they've already achieved. It's important for all of us to look for ways we can make a difference beyond our own households. Collective action with groups of people is a step in the right direction for meaningful action on climate."
The top-scoring teams were:
Lideres Great White Polar Bears
Sanchez Charter School, Texas
$750 grant award
This team impressed our judges with their "perseverance and determination to make a positive impact for the polar bears." They were able to reuse and recycle plastic bottles in multiple ways to teach students to conserve resources. They recognized their challenges and overcame them in creative ways. They started a recycling program at their local high school and middle school, inspiring students to actively recycle. They did so by promoting participation through a bulletin board, surveys, and flyers, and by creating unique recycling crates made from recycled materials. Going forward, the students are working toward more community involvement in their project and plan to spark interest in recycling at the elementary school.
Chosen Frozen Squad
South Allegheny Elementary, Pennsylvania
$500 grant award
This team focused on shopping from local companies. The team designed and sold shirts with their slogan "Be There For The Bear" in their elementary school. Through posters, creative fundraising, presentations, and handouts of locally produced candy bars wrapped with conservation tips, they got their message out to the community. They re-purposed plastic bottles to use as planters and are collecting recipes to create a cookbook that highlights local companies to create meals.
PBI holds the Project Polar Bear Contest each year in conjunction with green clubs, community groups, and schools in addition to its network of Arctic Ambassador Centers, which includes more than 40 leading zoos, aquariums, and museums. Registration for the next Project Polar Bear Contest will open this fall. Follow PBI on social media or visit their website for announcements on the next contest.
About Polar Bears International
Polar Bears International is dedicated to conserving polar bears and the sea ice they depend on. Through media, science, and advocacy, we work to inspire people to care about the Arctic, the threats to its future, and the connection between this remote region and our global climate. Discover fun facts, world-leading research, and ways to help polar bears at www.polarbearsinternational.org
Marissa Krouse, Program Manager, Polar Bears International