4/19/2012 8:26:09 PM

Teens Make EVERY Day a Polar Bear Day

Over the course of Earth Day weekend, we'll have a countdown to the top scoring team in this year's Project Polar Bear Contest, starting with the third place team on Friday. But first we'd like to give a shout-out to the additional CO2-reducing teams that we haven't yet featured—from Aqua Stomata to ZA Save a Tree.

Aqua Stomata Poster

Aqua Stomata, Oregon
Over the many weeks of Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo, the students on this team taught people about water conservation, had them sign a pledge to conserve water, and signed them up for a free Portland Water Bureau water saving kit. They received pledges from over 100 families and calculated that a typical household with four people used 7,178 gallons a month. With the water saving gadgets in the kit, they calculated a family would save 3,383 gallons a month and 800 lbs. of CO2 per person per year!

Arctic Allstars, Pennsylvania
This team collected 70 pairs of old jeans in order to make coffee cozies known as Java Jackets. A local coffee shop sold some and others were sold to teachers and students.  They then got polar bear T-shirts made, sold them, and used the money to adopt a polar bear. Around the holidays, they created a flyer with ideas for being green. They also planned a "Power Down Day" where they used half lighting in the halls, no electric lighting in rooms with windows, and reusable trays instead of Styrofoam in the cafeteria.

Eco Girls, Oregon
The Eco Girls went to four classrooms (97 students in total) and gave presentations on climate change and reforestation, planted 12 trees, and performed energy power downs over the long breaks at three schools. Unplugging the computers and turning off the lights saved 255,676 kWh of electricity. The trees that were planted will absorb 576 pounds of CO2 per year.

Friends of the Earth, Oregon
The team partnered with Energy Trust, a non-profit dedicated to lowering energy used in homes. They made an information packet for the team and lent them a lighting display that compares the different CFLs. They also gave them a sample Energy Saver Kit and unlimited supply of fliers. The team developed a list of pledges for people to sign with simple ways to save energy even if they didn't qualify for a kit. The team promoted their information at Zoo Lights during the holiday and talked to more than 900 people during five weeks. As a result of partnering with Energy Trust of Oregon, they also learned about a fundraiser called Change a Light, Change the World, where students sell CFL bulbs and keep 50% of the proceeds. They introduced it to an elementary school, where they raised money for their school kitchen garden. They gave away 1,300 CFLs, 325 showerheads and 325 water faucet aerators in 325 kits and sold another 260 CFL's. Overall they reduced emissions by 538,877 lbs. of CO2 per year. Wow!

Polar Rangers, Oregon
This team partnered with Terracycle recycling Ziploc bags, juice pouches, and candy/chip/cookie bags in their school cafeterias.  All together they saved 115.65 lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, while also raising awareness of how many different things can be recycled.

 ZA Save a Tree, Ohio
This team decided to raise money to save trees in the Awacachi and Ashaninka rainforests by selling baked goods to classmates, zookeepers and volunteers. They also got donations from teachers, zookeepers, and zoo volunteers. They were able to raise enough money to protect an acre of the Ashaninka rainforest, and to buy a half-acre of the Awacachi rainforest. Their project saved 390 tons of CO2 emissions.

 Registration for the 2013 Contest is September 15-October 31, 2012. To learn more, visit Project Polar Bear.

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