Project Earth 2012 Earth Day Contest Winners - Best School Projects


LANCASTER, N.Y., April 20, 2012 –The Project Earth 2012 Earth Day Contest project winners, selected from entries received from schools across the United States, are:

     Grades K-5: Wolford Elementary School – McKinney, TX
     Grades 6-8: All Saints Catholic School – Binghamton, NY
     Grades 9-12: The Oakwood School – Winterville, NC
     Best Original Song/Video Presentation: Lana’i High and Elementary School – Lana’i City, HI

Wolford Elementary School in McKinney, TX was recognized in the K-5 category for its Wolford ESC project, a comprehensive school-wide effort to raise environmental awareness.  Led by the school’s Environmental Science Club and student council, students developed initiatives to reduce electricity consumption, use reusable water bottles, minimize plastic consumption, recycle electronics, and use rain barrels to collect water for their native plants butterfly garden.  “We are delighted to receive this award from Project Earth,” said Doug Chapman, fifth grade science teacher at Wolford Elementary.  “I’m particularly proud of our students for demonstrating that we can all do a little something to make our world a better place. We are excited that our project will be shared with other schools around the globe and likewise look forward to learning from our international peers.”

All Saints Catholic School’s “Bad Grease is Good Fuel!” project in the Grades 6-8 category captured the attention of local government officials and is driving real change in the Binghamton, NY area.  Students set out to educate the community on the negative impacts of improperly disposing of used cooking oil down drains, impacting not only homes and sewage treatment facilities, but also wildlife and river systems. They’ve taken their education campaign to the County Executive and the City Council, which passed a resolution in support of their efforts.  A local supermarket chain is currently working with students to launch a pilot program to set up collection barrels for residents to use.  “We are honored to have been chosen as Project Earth's 2012 winner,” said Christine Horowitz, Technology Integration Specialist for Broome County Catholic Schools.  “Programs and recognition like this continue to motivate my students to not only become involved, but to stay involved.” 

The dedication of ninth grader Casey Sokolovic and her “Help Them L.A.S.T. – Love a Sea Turtle” project propelled the Oakwood School in Winterville, NC to win in the Grades 9-12 category.  As a third grader, Casey began her mission to protect sea turtles.  What started as an eight-year-old baking and selling sea turtle shaped cookies and distributing informational flyers has turned into a ninth grader leading a non-profit organization that has raised over $146,000; contributed more than 1,180 volunteer hours; and educated more than 2,500 students.  Casey’s organization has six upcoming summer camps planned.  “Project Earth provides a great opportunity for me to continue spreading awareness about the plight of sea turtles and inspiring others to get involved,” she said. “I believe our actions on land create reactions in the ocean, good and bad.”

Fourth graders at Lana'i High and Elementary School partnered with songwriter Matt Glickstein to write, produce, and record the winning music video "Every Day is Earth Day."  The project grew from the Debris from Our Sea Contest, sponsored by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, in which the students made artwork out of plastic debris collected from beaches. The recording of the song and accompanying music video features the entire Class of 2020.  “I’m so proud of our students for demonstrating that through working cooperatively with each other we can accomplish anything,” said Sandy Patterson of Lana’i High and Elementary School.  “We are honored that our project will be shared with other schools around the globe and look forward to learning from other students who are sharing the same important message about taking care of our earth and each other.” 

Other schools with top projects in the K-5 category were Billy Mitchell Elementary School in Lawndale, CA; Missouri Schools for Severely Disabled in Mapaville, MO; Socrum Elementary in Lakeland, FL; and the Naukati School in Naukati, AK.  In the Grades 6-8 category, other exceptional projects were submitted by the Christa McAuliffe School, PS # 28 in Jersey City, NJ; Paxton High School in Florala, AL; The Hewitt School in New York, NY; and Tomlinson Middle School in Fairfield, CT.  Rounding out the top projects in the Grades 9-12 category were projects from the Hewitt School in New York, NY; Red Bank High School in Chattanooga, TN; Verde Valley School in Sedona, AZ; and La Salle Academy in New York, NY.

Project Earth is an online forum created by Ecology and Environment, Inc. (E & E) to foster environmental and cultural exchange, networking schools and clubs around the world.  Recognizing that environmental issues are global, that tomorrow’s leaders must be prepared to work across borders and cultures, and that technology makes connecting on a global scale more accessible than ever, Project Earth is a space where classes and clubs can post environmental projects and begin to network with like-minded students around the world.  To date, students from over 1,900 schools in 108 countries have posted more than 1,600 projects on Project Earth.  The deadline for the World Environment Day Contest is June 5 and winners will be recognized in conjunction with the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“The caliber of projects we’re seeing on Project Earth continues to rise and the commitment of the participating students and teachers to increase environmental awareness is very encouraging,” said Kevin Neumaier, E & E president and CEO.  “These students are our future leaders and scientists and they are already deeply involved in developing workable solutions to address the critical environmental issues facing our planet.”

Headquartered in Lancaster, N.Y., E & E has completed more than 50,000 projects for a wide variety of clients in 122 countries, providing environmental solutions in nearly every ecosystem on the planet.  The company is listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol EEI and is located on the Web at www.ene.com.  More information about Project Earth is available at www.projectearth.net

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