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Redmond High School (Redmond, WA) Students’ “Cool School” CO2 Reduction Campaign Leads to Presidential Recognition and EPA Award

Release Date: 04/14/2008
Contact Information: Sally Hanft, EPA PEYA Coordinator, (206) 553-1207, hanft.sally@epa.gov or Suzanne Skadowski, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-6689, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov

(Redmond, WA – April 14, 2008) Responding to a question posed by their science teacher, five Redmond High School students developed a program to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide generated in the classroom through changes in transportation, recycling, electricity, and heating. The students took the challenge a step further by asking teachers to sign a pledge to reduce classroom CO2 emissions by 1,000 lb. In 2007, the students reduced classroom CO2 output by 72 tons and the school district saved $7,500 in recycling and electricity costs!

For designing a fun, innovative program that challenged their teachers and peers to take simple steps to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions, the Redmond student leaders will be honored by President George W. Bush, along with EPA Administrator Steve Johnson and EPA Region 10 Administrator Elin Miller, with the President's Environmental Youth Award in a Washington, DC ceremony this Thursday, April 17, at the White House.

The campaign has spread across the school district and over the past two and a half years, the district has saved $550,000 by recycling more, watering less, reducing waste, and using less energy. The success of the students' efforts prompted the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and Puget Sound Energy to provide financial assistance to train more teachers. The students also presented their results to the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Los Angeles, California.

According to Elin Miller, EPA’s regional administrator in Seattle, Washington, the winning team displayed “impressive ingenuity” in their drive to reduce CO2 in the classroom and beyond.

“These Redmond High students started ‘small’ by thinking ‘big’ about climate change,” said EPA’s Miller. “Their impressive achievement shows that changes like these can help other high schools, in other districts, reduce greenhouse gases and save money. We’re confident these student leaders will inspire other Pacific Northwest schools and communities to make positive climate impact reductions in the region.”

There are also two runners’ up in EPA’s awards competition, one from Kenai, AK and one from Tekoa, WA:

First Runner-Up is an 11th grade student in Kenai, AK, who developed and directs the “Make the Switch…Make a Difference” project to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity by partnering with local electric companies and encouraging 840 people to “make the switch” from incandescent bulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.

Second Runner-Up honors go to elementary school students in Tekoa, WA, who are restoring the stream habitat of Hangman Creek near their school along with monitoring water quality, removing noxious weeds, and planting trees in partnership with businesses and local community members.

The President’s Environmental Youth Awards program encourages individuals, school classes, summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness and positive community involvement. Each year, young people from around the country, kindergarten through high school, are invited to participate in the awards program as individuals or in groups. The program has two components: the regional certificate program and the national awards competition. Regional certificates from the President of the United States are awarded by each of the ten EPA regions. Additionally, one outstanding project from each region is presented with a Presidential plaque at an EPA sponsored award ceremony.

For more information on the President’s Environmental Youth Awards and to learn what you can do to address climate change:

http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/peya/index.html
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/school.html