Polar Bears International

4/26/2011 3:10:34 PM

Way to Go, Project Polar Bear Teens!

Earth Club TeamFour teams of amazing teens will gather in San Diego this weekend to take part in an Awards Ceremony for Project Polar Bear, a national contest held by PBI that encourages teens to create and carry out projects that reduce carbon emissions.

The Grand Prize team wins a trip to see wild polar bears, but, as one of the contestants said, "It doesn't matter if we win or lose—what we're doing is so important."

Competing teams rallied their communities to prevent more than 30 million pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. Along the way, they raised awareness about the importance of reducing greenhouse gases to help save polar bear habitat and inspired entire communities to reduce their carbon footprint.

The AHS Zoo School of North Carolina conducted energy audits to help individuals and businesses cut back on power usage, rewarding participants with donated packs of CFL bulbs.

The Care Bears of Ohio created a My Actions website that promotes simple CO2-reducing actions and calculates their impact. They collected hundreds of pledges from as far away as Hungary, plus from local residents and 33,000 Boy Scouts.

The Earth Club of Wisconsin focused on recycling and planting trees, attracting more than 200 volunteers for a tree-planting day and distributing their distinctive Polar Bearrels (used Coca-Cola barrels turned into recycling bins) around town.

The Energy Angels of Pennsylvania raised money for CFL light bulb giveaways (more than 2,000 total) and energy-saving kits; they also held numerous outreach events to inform and inspire audiences, collect pledges, and distribute bulbs and kits.

"These teens know that the fate of our iconic polar bear is up to each of us," says PBI President Robert Buchanan. "Their actions and attitudes have already helped reduce carbon emissions and motivate change—and that makes everyone who competed a winner in our book."

The four finalist teams and their adult advisors earned a trip to San Diego for the Awards Ceremony, held at SeaWorld San Diego on April 30, 2011. During the ceremony, PBI will announce the Grand Prize and Second Place winners. Grand Prize is a trip to Churchill to see polar bears. Second Prize is a Beluga Encounter at SeaWorld. All finalists will receive free admission and a VIP Tour at SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo.

The contest was hosted by PBI, sponsored by Lowepro, and supported by regional zoos and aquariums including the North Carolina Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo, and the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. These zoo are part of PBI's network of Arctic Ambassador Center Zoos, centers that focus on animal well-being and enrichment, take a leadership role in stewardship and carbon-reduction efforts in their communities, and participate in PBI polar bear research efforts.

PBI received dozens of contest entries from across the nation. Registration for the 2011 contest is October 1-31, 2011. Learn more about Project Polar Bear and read the blogs of competing teams. They'll knock your socks, er, paws, off!

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