The Green Musketeers from Jericho High School in Jericho, N.Y., were grand prize

Lexus rewards teens' environmental innovation with $500,000 in grants, scholarships


Lexus announced the winners in the Lexus Eco Challenge today, disbursing $500,000 in grants and scholarships to middle and high school environmentalists whose innovative projects demonstrated the drive and passion to make the world a better place.

The two grand-prize winners, each receiving a $30,000 grant to further their educations, were the Green Musketeers from New York state’s Jericho High School and the One-Towel Wonders from SCAPA in Lexington, KY.

Each group will get the $30,000 from Lexus with $7,000 to the school, $3,000 to the teacher advisor and $20,000 in scholarships split among the participating students.

The Green Musketeers developed their own proprietary water filtration system, which they hope to patent and market, investing any profits in promoting clean water in the Third World.

The One-Towel Wonders see great things happening if we all just limit ourselves to a single bath towel per week. Their efforts revealed what a huge impact such a simple idea could have on the environment if widely adopted.

This is actually a powerful concept. If you stop and think about the little things we do – for example, getting a quick fast food lunch now and then. It is a natural need there is no denying, the burger joint is filling and fast. Why think anything about it?

Multiply that simple act by one billion and it results in the deforestation of the rain forest to create more grazing land. One simple natural act, amplified to great impact.

“For anyone who wonders if teens today care about the world, the Lexus Eco Challenge is proof that they do,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “Through this program, more than 25,000 participants have demonstrated that they want to make the world a better place. By coming up with real-world solutions to environmental challenges, students are learning how they can make a difference in the world around them.”

Eight more school groups were awarded first place grants of $15,000 with $3,000 going to the school, $2,000 to the advisor and $10,000 in scholarships to be shared among the students. The other winning teams included:

California’s Team Aqua from Arboga Elementary who raised funds and awareness of water conservation programs all over the world.

California’s Carbonators of Clark Magnet High School that used ArcGIS to study smog levels around the world and the effect on health of breathing polluted air.

Florida’s The Trophic, students from Miami Palmetto Senior High School, looked into reducing carbon dioxide emissions through programs to clean the land, air and water in their community.

In Hawaii, the WEACT group from Leilehua High School instituted a community-wide environmental awareness program culminating in the implementation of an environmental mural.

Lexington Kentucky’s Purpledinowolficorns of Tates Creek Middle School took on City Hall, submitting a proposal to the mayor to involve the community in the city’s improvement. (The also get TorqueNews' vote for the coolest moniker!)

Michigan’s WMS Carbon Busters from Whitehall Middle School enjoined their school, community and state to forego bottled water using tap water instead.

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