The Power of Youth: Empowering Teens to Take Action, Help the Environment Teens take action to help the environment

Congratulations to the Final High School Winners of the Lexus Environmental Challenges!

Lexus and Scholastic are pleased to announce the winners of the 2007-2008 Lexus Environmental Challenge!

With amazing presentations , in-person and online networking and more, the winning teams of the Lexus Environmental Challenge tackled issues that ranged from global warming awareness to informing their communities about the critical importance of water conservation.

For their extraordinary displays of environmental activism, the students, teachers, and schools of the Grand Prize-winning teams will be awarded $75,000, while the First Place teams will receive $50,000! See the slideshows below detailing the teams' success,

Join the mailing list for Year 2 of the Lexus Environmental Challenge. Email us at so we can keep you apprised of updates!

> Check out the Middle School Winners

> Check out the High School Winners



The Dream Team - Hawaii
The Dream Team led an environmental campaign in their school and the greater community by generating awareness of clean and renewable energy sources. They shared their message in eleven different languages! Find out more!

L.I.F.E - California

The L.I.F.E. team spread their message that energy conservation can help reduce greenhouse gases. The team accomplished their goal to educate and serve as a catalyst for change. Find out more!

Marine Science Researchers - California
The Marine Science Researchers used photography and hands-on GIS (geographic information system) research to document the importance of creating more protected biodiverse marine areas. Find out more!

Newberry Environmental Girls - Florida
The Newberry Environmental Girls chose sustainable practices as their central focus, and developed a high school curriculum so that other students could spread the word nationwide about conserving the Earth's depleting resources. Find out more!

Save Our Fresh Water - Utah
The Save Our Fresh Water team was inspired by their Outdoor Classroom to teach others about the importance of water conservation. This classroom has been converted to a nature area that requires water every seventeen days rather than every single day. Find out more!

Team Earth - North Carolina
Team Earth took a closer look at a tool we use every day—the toilet. They decided to raise awareness about the importance of water conservation and the use of low-flow toilets. Find out more!

The Elementals - New York
The Elementals established a "GET Active" (Global Environmental Transition) campaign in order to spread awareness about global warming, and what the global community can do to help prevent it. Find out more!

Vampire Electronics - New York
Vampire Electronics sunk their teeth into discussing those appliances left plugged into the wall that are still siphoning energy, even when not technically "in use". Their blog received over 3,500 page views. Find out more!

The Ones Who Care - California
The Ones Who Care tackled the devastating effects that global warming has on polar bears. The team's web pages offer some informative discussion of what they call the "Lexus the Polar Bear" project. Find out more!

The Great Gators - Pennsylvania
The Great Gators raised awareness that under-inflated tires contribute to excess carbon dioxide emissions. The team gathered research by working with a local car dealership to track the tire pressure of cars that were serviced over the course of a week. Find out more!

Westminster CCC3 - Georgia
The Westminster CCC3 team went "A.P.E. for Recycling". They created a campaign that spread awareness, encouraged participation, and helped eliminate excess. Find out more!

> Check out the Middle School Winners

And congratulations to the Winners of the Climate, Water, Air, and Land Challenges! Teens across the country showed the Power of Youth in the amazing Action Plans they submitted. Well done!

Climate Challenge Winners

The winning middle school teams in grades 6–8 are:

The Waterboys, Arizona
Team: Andrew, Kenzie, Matthew, Stephen, Wesley
Teacher advisor Mina Bhagdev led her team in spreading awareness via flyers about the efficiency of using compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) instead of their incandescent alternatives.

The Skomajomas, Kentucky
Team: Alex, Annie, Ben, Beth, Brodie, Jamie, Kana, Monet, Stella
Teacher advisor Ashlie Beals led her team in informing the school and community about how inflating tires properly leads to less energy consumption and carbon emissions. The team circulated flyers, sent e-mail messages, and placed a print and online ad in their community newspaper!

R.O.S.E, North Carolina
Team: Ally, Briana, Lillie, Maddi, Sammy
Teacher advisor Kim Metcalf led her team in addressing the spread of the Oriental Bittersweets, an aggressive vine threatening the health of trees and other vegetation in their nearby park. The team members collected 200 strands of the vine, 200 of its berries, picked up some trash along the way, and has developed an evnvironmental action club at school!

Enviro-mentals, Pennsylvania
Team: Alex, Andrew, Jeremiah, Joan, Matt, Mindy, Taylor, Victoria
Teacher advisor Mr. Matson led his team in addressing climate change and carbon dioxide emissions. The team’s plan earned a mention in the local newspaper and the members organized an educational assembly for their peers, recycled 102 pounds of newspaper and magazines, and obtained two composting bins for the school!

Don’t Dis Methane, New York
Team: Alexander, Ashley, Clair, Sally, Tara
Teacher advisor Susan Herzog led her team in researching methane’s contributions to global warming. The team presented a lesson to its school’s fifth grade, and in order to test the lesson’s effect, they surveyed the classes before and after the presentation was given. The fifth graders’ knowledge about the greenhouse gas improved by more than 100 percent after the lesson.

The Climate Academy, New Jersey
Team: Crystal, David, Matthew, Tsering, Yoonji
Teacher advisor Joseph Osenenko led his team in encouraging others to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions in their daily lives. The team created an informational PSA that reached an audience of more than 70,000 people!

The winning high school teams in grades 9–12 are:

The Ones Who Care, California
Team: Amy, Betsy, David, Erika, Madeline, Perla, Sinai, Sonia
Teacher advisor Melanie Graf led her team in researching the greenhouse effect and global warming. In an after-school program held for their school’s sixth grade, the team presented a slide show and discussion, with a drawing contest to gauge what its audience had learned.

Water Wizards, California
Team: Allegra, A. Turner, Cascade, E. Weirich, Gabriela, Julien, Maddie, Nick, Priscilla, Samantha
Teacher advisor Cheryl Powers led her team in spreading awareness about the need to reduce the community’s carbon footprint. The team members conducted energy audits in their school’s dorms and revealed the results at student assemblies, and have been successful in promoting the use of compact flourescent bulbs in dorms, classrooms, and some of the administration’s offices on campus!

Team Earth, North Carolina
Team: Evan, Hunt, Joe, Katy, Maggie, Zac
Teacher advisor Gordon Massengill led his team in informing the community about the global, environmental benefits of reforestation. With educational pamphlets, a bake sale, and a raffle, the team was able to raise more than 300 dollars to be donated to Nicaragua’s reforestation project!

Westminster CCC 4, Georgia
Team: Cat, Chris, Ellen, Ginny, Irene, Ishan
Teacher advisor Dr. Chris Harrow led his team in raising awareness regarding the reduction of carbon dixoide emissions. While pursuing the implementation of simple energy-efficient measures on campus, as well as a bus system for school commuters, the team members engaged in a robust promotional effort to get students to participate in their forthcoming Atlanta Green Cup Challenge, an event organized to promote a reduction in energy bills at two competing schools.

Greenery, New York
Team: Abhay, David, Foram, Nabil, Stephen
Teacher advisor Richard Quan led his team in gathering interest in the reduction of carbon emissions. The team communicated its cause via flyers, a public library exhibit, and a feature in the school newspaper.

The Great Gators, Pennsylvania
Team: Arnold, Drew, Emily, Jesse, Kayleigh, Laura, Margret, Nathan, Norah, Stephen
Teacher advisor Elizabeth Martin led her team in highlighting the importance of driving with properly inflated tires. With flyers, an in-school assembly, and a popular Facebook group, the team is spreading awareness about a simple tactic to help reduce carbon emissions!

RelightNY, New York
Team: Avery, Brendan, Daniel, Florian, Izzy, Jack, Peter, Stephen, Taiki, Will
Teacher advisor Amy Bell led her team in distributing nearly 15,000 compact flourescent bulbs to low or fixed income families, contributing to the reduction of nearly 1.5 million pounds of carbon emissions!

Manalapan High School Environmental Club (S.A.V.E.), New Jersey
Team: Alex, Alexa, Andrew, Erica, Jason, Jessica, Joseph, Lenny, Lindsay, Michelle
Teacher advisor Nora Cavaluzzi led her team in an effort to fight deforestation and to boost recycling. The team launched a cell phone and ink cartridge recycling drive, organized an assembly, planted 25 baby pine trees, placed eight recycling bins at school, sold 43 T-shirts to students and families, and saved 4.3 acres in the Osa Peninsula Rainforest!

Vampire Exterminators, New York
Team: Edward, Max, Sana, Sarah, Sindhu
Teacher advisor Richard Quan led his team in raising awareness about “vampire electronics,” the devices powered by plugs that continue to siphon energy from the electrical socket, even when they are not in use. Seventeen fourth and fifth grade classes were given presentations on “vampire electronics” by the time this team finished spreading their message, and the members had also alerted an estimated more-than 700 people in the community about the problem!

Reducing 4 More!, New York
Team: Hannah, Julie, Shyam, Stacy, Tiffany
Teacher advisor Richard Quan led his team in educating students and community members about reducing the use of plastic bags, plastic bottles, paper, and paper bags with extensive flyer, e-mail, and Web-based campaigns.

Water Challenge Winners

The winning middle school teams in grades 6–8 are:

Sugar Is Sweet, and Now Sugar House Pond Is Neat!, Utah
Elizabeth, Heidi, Melissa, Rachel, Sarah
Teacher advisor JoAnne Brown led her team to clean up the nearby polluted Sugar House Park Pond, and loaded six trash bags full of litter by the time they were done!

The Tree Huggers, Utah
Jeffrey, John David, Kyle, Nick, Sam
Teacher advisor JoAnne Brown led her team to improve the local ecosystem by cleaning about 55 pounds of garbage out of Cottonwood Creek.

CSI, Washington
Alexis, Austin, Gurveen, James, Nicole, Sam
Teacher advisor Sharon Gentry led her team in organizing a contest to rid the local Hylebos Creek wetland of non-native plants, which landed the event in one of the town’s newspapers and yielded a haul of 811 pounds of blackberries from the region!

St. Margaret Science Club, Louisiana
Austin, Chris, Collin, Dallas, Joe, Jordan, JP, Kelli, Kelsey, Madison
Teacher advisor Judy Reeves led her team in informing the community about water pollution by inviting a water district rep to speak at the school, involving other students in an Annual Beach Sweep, organizing student short films, identifying where storm drains dump, and collecting lakefront property trash for five hours!

The Water Wonders, New Jersey
Juliana, Kirsten, Laurajane, Malik, Rebecca, Stefanie, Tyler
Teacher advisor Jane Batchelder led her team in sending petitions regarding sufficient flood control measures for the Delaware River to New Jersey and New York governments as well as composing a rap song for their school about pollution awareness. The team collected more than 200 signatures!

Nature's Knights, Arizona
Ben, Blake, Garrett, Jenny, Meghann, Michael, Zach
Teacher advisor Mina Bhagdev led her team in determining the main causes of pollution in Lake Saguaro, collecting and analyzing water samples from the lake, and putting up posters at school that illustrate the effects of pollution.

WaterBoyz, Virginia
Team: Chris, James, Keaton, Phillip, Richard
Teacher advisor Eileen Hart led her team in researching water pollution, collecting and analyzing water samples from a local body of water, and distributing 100 flyers to the community in order to gather help in cleaning up trash at a local pond.

Mimi Davis and Felicia Przekota's Team, Illinois
Team: Alexander, Amy, Kerrian, Augustine, Daniel, Nancy, Sam
Teacher advisor Mary Davis led her team in a water conservation effort around their school measuring how much extra water bathroom faucets were pumping. The team worked with the school's maintenance team to resolve the issue.

The winning high school teams in grades 9–12 are:

Marine Science Researchers, California
Alice, Christina, Dalar, Jaime, Serly, Suze
Teacher advisor Dominique Evans-Bye led her team in addressing contamination of the Los Angeles Harbor by collecting water and marine life samples for analysis. The research results were published as a press release in Public Safety Diver Magazine and presented on a poster at a California State University symposium. There are more scheduled presentations forthcoming in 2008!

Save Our Fresh Water, Utah
Andrew, Clayton, Miles, Quinn, Zach
Teacher advisor JoAnne Brown led her team in publishing an essay, photos, a water usage poll, and a video slideshow to their own water conservation Web site that they created. A story about their water conservation efforts aired on a local news broadcast!

Water Wizards, California
Allegra, Audrey, Victoria, Elizabeth, Gabriela, Julien, Maddie, Nick, Priscilla, Samantha
Teacher advisor Cheryl Powers led her team in advising the school to improve conservation efforts by planting drought-tolerant species, installing drip irrigation and soaker hoses, and implementing low-flow showerheads in the dorms. With the help of water usage analysis, surveys, and interviews, the team will present an in-depth Action Plan to the school administration and Board of Trustees.

Maine East Team 6, Illinois
Alisha, Chandni, Farah, Farhana, Purvi, Seema
Teacher advisor Shelby Childress led her team in distributing literature, posting water usage-related information, and conducting a series of surveys in their school in order to spread awareness about water conservation.

The Fifth Element, Florida
Allison, Carly, Melissa, Nolita, Stephanie
Teacher advisor Carolyn Welty led her team in researching coral reef destruction, distributing leaflets and posting signs regarding their research results, and penning letters to state and local government.

WestminsterCCC2, Georgia
Catherine, Ellen, Irene, Ishan, Sam, Virginia
Teacher advisor Chris Harrow led his team in placing articles in the school newsletter and alumni magazine as well as organzing and executing an extensive battery recycling program, which yielded six full 10-gallon buckets of used batteries for recycling!

Herricks Envision, New York
Alex, Brian, Darren, Lenny, Vijay
Teacher advisor Richard Quan led his team in conducting surveys, contacting a councilperson, starting an environmental club, analyzing pollution of the local pond, and developing a detector (with some help) to monitor concentrations of contaminants and oxygen content within the pond!

The Dream Team, Hawaii
Carmina, Catherine, Genevieve, Herald, Minhtrang, Princes, Robbin, Robert, Sheville
Teacher advisor Bebi Davis led her team to investigate the impact of marine debris on marine life and humans. By organizing beach clean-ups, testing water quality, and educating the community about the issue, this team is well on their way to leaving a lasting impact on their community and helping preserve the limited resource of water.

Air Challenge Winners

The winning middle school teams in grades 6–8 are:

Barna’s Bunch, New Jersey
Carlos, Josh, Kevin, Nick, Rachel, Malik
Teacher advisor Paul Barna led his team to swap out the school’s cleaning products with greener choices, and create a researched slide show and Web site for a forthcoming presentation to the school board!

Save Your Breath, New Jersey
Alex, Colin, Erica, Jacob, Kirsten, Thomas
Teacher advisor Jane Batchelder led her team in researching the air quality in the school’s bathrooms, and putting together an informative presentation for the school and church board.

Mold Patrol, New York
Geraldine, Leah, Lisbeth, Rebeka, Vanessa, Vivien
Teacher advisor Susan Herzog led her team to focus on the indoor air pollution caused by mold spores in the students’ homes. The team experimented with mold to find effective mold removal methods, crafted a school survey about mold’s effects, and plan to create a community survey to reach an audience of approximately 450 families.

St. Margaret Science Club, Louisiana
Madison, Joseph, Austin, JP, Jordan, Colin, Kelli, Christopher, Kelsey, Dallas
Teacher advisor Judy Reeves led her team in encouraging community members to replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. With Web site–based pledges, flyers, a skit, and political cartoons, the team earned pledges that 1,537 incandesent bulbs would be swapped with greener compact fluorescent light bulbs!

Radon Awareness Group, Utah
Alexa, Anika, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Hayden, Sterling
Teacher advisor JoAnne Brown led her team in spreading awareness about radon gas by organizing a school event, creating informative posters for the school hallways, and raffling off a Radon Home Test Kit. The team reached at least 250 people and are continuing to supply faculty, families, and community members with information and radon test kits.

No Car Day, Utah
Annie, Courtney, Jessie, Taylor, Zoe
Teacher advisor JoAnne Brown led her team in addressing the health risks associated with car exhaust by holding a “No Car Day” at their school. Flyers, in-school announcements, and posters were used to encourage more than one hundred people who drive to school to leave their cars at home for a day!

The winning high school teams in grades 9–12 are:

Edgemont Environmental Club, New York
Celina, Dana, Erica, Nick, Stephen, Victoria
Teacher advisor Maria DeCandia led her team in researching and promoting "green roof" technology with presentations at their school and the Scarsdale Teacher Institute, participating in their local nature center's fair, writing and publishing an article, as well as installing four green roof boxes on school grounds!

O3 Rectifiers, New York
Hannah, Julie, Shyam, Stacy, Tiffany
Teacher advisor Richard Quan led his team in countering ozone depletion by disseminating information in presentations, press releases, and a blog with an individual visitor count of 862 in its first 10 days!

WestminsterCCC3, Georgia
Alexis, Caroline M., Caroline R., Cat, Frank, Irene, Ishan, Lauren, Meredith
Teacher advisor Dr. Chris Harrow led his team in helping reduce greenhouse gases by implementing three tree planting sessions on campus, initiating a Turn Out the Lights campaign, getting green cleaning supplies in the school and cafeteria, and earning three positions on the school’s Energy Subcommittee of the Board.

Newberry Environmental Girls, Florida
Anna, Ashley, Crystal, Dakota, Joyce
Teacher advisor Dr. Cynthia Holland led her team in creating a lab activity for fifth graders, flyers, a bulletin board at the high school, and a take-home lichen lab for the fifth-grade students—all focused primarily on secondhand smoke and other air pollutants.

Team Earth, North Carolina
Evan, Hunt, Joe, Katy, Maggie, Zac
Teacher advisor Gordon Massengill led his team in informing the student body about harmful indoor air pollutants associated with everyday household products. With its tri-fold board and trivia game, the team’s booth—created for school lunch periods—as well as their blog got their message across to 1,700 students!

Terra Tutela, North Carolina
Benjamin, Christina, Deanna, Melissa, Nick, Nicole, Tyler
Teacher advisor Gordon Massengill led his team in addressing smoking in public restaurants. Data regarding North Carolina’s public smoking policies was gathered in interviews conducted with 169 people and then used to raise awareness in a blog and a growing Facebook group, now 70 members strong!

Magnificent 7, Wisconsin
Eric, Sarah R., Sarah H., Teagen, Allison W., Allison F., Rachel
Teacher advisor Dana Lucius led her team in informing their school and communtity about outdoor air pollution by using posters, surveys, conducting lung capacity tests, and publishing an article in the school newspaper.

CCA Ecoclub, California
Mia, Mathew, Ronit, Savannah, William
Teacher advisor Wendy Slijk led her team in addressing automobile-generated outdoor air pollution. The students organized a “Pump Up Your Effort” school event that provided free tire pressure checks, and used fliers, the school newspaper, and local media to spread the message that tire pressure is directly related to fuel efficiency and air emissions!

The Ones Who Care, California
Amy, David, Erika, Madeline, Sinai, Sonia
Teacher advisor Melanie Graf led her team in focusing on outdoor air pollution, specifically pollution caused by freeway travel and improper disposal of electronics. The students crafted and copied 3,000 brochures, which reached the entire school and some members of the community!

L.I.F.E., California
Ellis, Patrick, Adam, Rachel, Jordan, Kylie, Melissa, Brittany, Jennifer, Sarah
Teacher advisor Joan Davidson led her team in spreading the word about a local air pollution emissions problem. The students invited a speaker from the American Lung Association to address the student body and gained the attention (and newsletter space) of the Executive Board of the Torrance Unified School District PTA, the Sierra Club, and South Bay Parkland Conservancy so that the problem could be better publicized!

Land Challenge Winners

The winning middle school teams in grades 6–8 are:

The Eggsteins, New York
Daniel L., Eve, Jillian, Daniel W., Xi, Andrew
Teacher advisor Matthew Terenzi led his team to explore the effects of deforestation by identifying trees, creating leaf impressions, and by taking younger students on a nature walk.

The St. Margaret Science Club, Louisiana
Madison, Joey, Austin, JP, Jordan, Colin, Kelli, Chris, Kelsey & Dallas
Teacher advisor Judy Reeves led her team to create an action plan to promote recycling in the community by handing out flyers, collecting cans at school sports events, and collecting phone books.

Chi-Town Team, Illinois
Team: Amy, Daisy, Emmanuel, Erik, Jesus, Pedro, & Alfonso
Teacher advisor Camila Sanchez led her team to create a recycling plan for cans, clean the local park, and survey classmates to assess knowledge of recycling and its importance.

The Eco-Gangsters, Missouri
: Cameron, Trey, Chris, Leah, Meagan, Kirsten, & Bailey
Teacher advisor Peggy Pennington led her team on a recycling campaign by working with their local recycling center to increase the number of recycling bins in her school from 7 to 40 bins!

OJH World Environmental Managers, Utah
: Davis, Skylar, Brandon, Hank, & Paul
Teacher advisor JoAnne Brown led her team to organize a beach cleanup in their local community. They filled bags with glass, cans, paper, and plastic which made the beach a cleaner place to visit!

The Spachio Six, New Jersey
: Nick, Carlos, Colin, Tom, Josh, & Kevin
Teacher advisor Jane Batchelder led her team to place recycling bins in every classroom in their school so students could see the amount of recyclables they produce on a weekly basis.

The winning high school teams in grades 9–12 are:

Bayou Bartholomew EAST Project Team, Arkansas
: Kayla, Crockett, Kinnsey, Katie, James, Hunter, Kara Beth, Trent, Bethany, & Colby
Teacher advisor Brandi Anthony led her team to join forces with other schools in the area to clean up pollution in the longest bayou in the United States, Bayou Bartholomew. The team created a Web site to track the efforts of the cleanup.

Manatee Team, Florida
: Farrah, Amber, William, Felicia, Monique, Brittany, Johanna, & Katie
Teacher advisor Patricia Zalo led a team that focused on improving the efficiency of the recycling program for paper at school and introduced a new plastic and metal recycling program. By announcing their plan through the school newspaper and a survey to teachers, the team was able to place 20 recycling bins for plastics around the school and increase the number of paper collection bins to 100.

Team Kramedawg, New York
: John G., John K., Cody, Orlando, Erica, Alexandra, & Melissa
Teacher advisor Steven Kramer led his team to start a recycling program at school by placing bins in every classroom and other key spots around school, including the cafeteria, computer lab, library, and copy room. The team spread the word by placing an ad in the school newspaper, placing flyers around school, and creating a Web site to promote their idea.

Newberry Environmental Girls, Florida
: Anna, Crystal, Dakota, Ashley, & Joyce
Teacher advisor Dr. Cynthia Holland led her team to analyze the number of soft drinks in plastic bottles that are sold at her school every day in order to build a case for recycling. The team found out that nearly 170 plastic bottles are sold daily. At this rate, the team calculated that the school was contributing an average of 27,000 plastic bottles to the local landfill per year. By creating their own recycling bins and placing them in classrooms and other key spots in the school, the team was able to recycle 95 bottles in four days.

Westminster CCC Team, Georgia
: Ishan, Catherine, Frank, Ginny, Irene, Meredith, Alex, Caroline M., Caroline R., & Maggie
Teacher advisor Dr. Chris Harrow led a team to expand the school's recycling program by generating volunteer support to help manage the recycling bins through a program called "Adopt a Recycle Bin." The team spread the word about their program at football games and over the PA system. The program is in process and the team hopes to not only raise understanding of an important environmental issue but also collect many bottles and cans throughout the school year.

Viva Verde Team, North Carolina
: Bennett, Jill, Daniel, Katelyn, & Lyndsay
Teacher advisor Debbie Herbster led a team to volunteer at the Culinary Arts Expereince event to help educate community members about the need to reduce non-biodegradable waste through recycling.

The Elementals, New York
: Foram, Sajni, David, Nabil, Neil, Stephanie, Stephen, & Abhay
Teacher advisor Richard Quan led his team to survey the school community about recycling and assess the community's level of awareness in order to observe trends. The team spoke with community members and school members and found that most people were not recycling and those that were did not recycle everything that they could.

The Ones Who Care, California
: Amy, David, Sonia, Sinai, Madeline, & Erika
Teacher advisor Melanie Graf led her team on a campaign to raise awareness about pesticides and their effect on humans, animals, soil, and vegetation. The team created posters, flyers, and organized a presentation to share their findings. Through the presentation the team estimates that they were able to reach about 3% of the school population!

Privacy Policy




Here's something interesting from