High School Leaders Compete for Funding and Support From Bedford 2020


High school students representing eight Westchester schools will be competing on Saturday, December 15th, in the fourth annual Round One of the Greenlight Award.

The Greenlight Award is a contest that challenges high school students to lead a project to get people to change their behavior in a way that benefits the environment. Students pitch to a local environmental group, Bedford 2020, which selects the best ideas to fund and support. The most impactful team wins a cash prize at a final event in April.

During Round One, students come up with a behavior-change solution to an environmental problem in their community. In the past green ideas have included: an education campaign to discourage car idling, an incentive program for recycling, and a system to facilitate rainwater harvesting.

Round One contestants meet with community stakeholders, professionals and sustainability experts to assess the feasibility of their idea; write a proposal that includes a budget and project timeline; and teams pitch their idea and field questions from judges who are community leaders.

‚ÄúThe Greenlight Award program engages student participants in ways that encourage them to be innovators, project managers, and community leaders,‚ÄĚ says Stuart Marwell, CEO of Curtis Instruments, corporate sponsor of this year‚Äôs Greenlight Award program. ‚ÄúWe are looking forward to hearing their ideas and supporting these future environmental leaders.‚ÄĚ

Up to seven teams advance to the Finals after Round One, and each team receives up to $1,000 in seed funding to carry out their project. The finalists continue to gain real world experience as they a lead a community-based initiative, problem-solve and measure their impact.

‚ÄúIncreasingly in the business¬†and nonprofit world,¬†‚Äėmetrics‚Äô¬†are required to¬†prove¬†success,¬†‚Äúaccording to¬†Olivia Farr, chair of the Greenlight Award Steering Committee,¬†‚ÄúAt the final event in April, students will show data to prove¬†they changed¬†at least 20 people‚Äôs behavior at least 20 times¬†as they compete for the Greenlight Award¬†and a $500 prize.‚ÄĚ

On Saturday, nineteen teams will showcase their proposals at the Round One Expo at Fox Lane Middle School in Bedford from 9:00am until 11:00am. The event is free and open to the public to come visit the displays and ask the contestants questions about their big green ideas from 9am to 11am. Finalists and their funding grants will be announced the week of December 17.


Bedford 2020 is a non-profit organization leading a grassroots effort in the Town of Bedford, NY to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020 and to create a sustainable community that conserves natural resources. The Greenlight Award is a project of Bedford 2020 that engages students countywide in environmental innovation and leadership. More information is available at www.Bedford2020.org.


Faculty Advisors

All student teams must sign on a faculty advisor at their school.  The faculty advisor offers feedback and helps with communication between students and Bedford 2020. We welcome advisors to remind students about resources and deadlines, attend the Round One Event and the Finals, and help students get attention from stakeholders and the school community.

We greatly appreciate the support of the faculty advisors for our inspiring Greenlight Award leaders. Thank you!


Dear Faculty Advisors…

Above is a letter for all Faculty Advisors to read and print, describing the ways in which advisors are expected to support students throughout the contest, as well as the many ways Bedford 2020 provides support.

For information about promoting the contest to students, go to our General Faculty Resources page.

Please contact us if you have any questions.


Finalists and Faculty Mentors at the 2017 Final Event

Resources for Greenlight Competitors are found in the Toolkit on the Greenlight web page

In addition to the many opportunities for feedback and help, the Greenlight Award Toolkit has forms, inspiration and resources for participants. Deadlines for this years contest are found under the Summary of the Competition in the Toolkit.


Greenlight Award Faculty Fact Sheet




Faculty Advisor Resources

If you will be working with a student team

General Faculty Resources

If you want to learn more or help get the word out about Greenlight




2017 Winners with their Faculty Advisor

Greenlight Competition Intent to Participate Form

greenlight-award-logo-312Congratulations, you are one step closer to becoming a Changemaker!

To be a part of the Greenlight Award Competition, please submit this form by October 26th. If you don’t have all the information yet, that’s ok, we just want to know you’re interested at this point!

Once we know you are interested and have your contact info, we will send you reminders and updates via Remind.com. If you have any questions, email Bedford 2020.

Greenlight Award Intent to Participate 2018-2019

Greenlight Award Intent to Participate 2018-2019

The Changemaker 2020 competition is on! We are looking forward to hearing your big green ideas. Please sign up here to participate, and we will be sure to keep you in the loop about upcoming meetings, new materials and to help if you need it.

You may change this as you develop your idea further, but let us know how we should refer to your team or project.
Please address an environmental issue within the community.
Your idea could include scientific or technological solutions, education/awareness (through art, persuasion, film, etc), policy and influence, research and reporting, grassroots action, or a combination of any of these (or others).
Will you implement your project and see behavior change within your school, neighborhood, congregation, among local businesses, or other?
We will use Remind.com to send you reminders and updates
At least one student on your team should provide an additional email address because the school email systems often reject our Bedford 2020 emails and we want to make sure your team stays in the loop. Thank you.
If additional students would like to receive text messages or emails, please also include them in the text box above. Thanks.

Greenlight Award Timeline 2017-2018




October 27th: Sign up to participate

November 1: Attend Incubator Workshop at Harvey

  • Participants meet with community experts, refine the direction of their project and learn about available resources and Round 1 requirements.

December 1: Project Proposal Form Due

  • This will be reviewed in advance by the Round 1 judges.

December 7: Power Point Presentation Due

  • Presentations must be submitted in advance via Dropbox¬†for Round 1.

December 9: Round 1 at John Jay High School

  • Present before panel of judges. Students have 3 minutes to present and judges have 3 minutes to ask questions.

After Round 1

  • Finalists are¬†selected to¬†receive project seed-funding up to $1,000 and will have access to community experts to develop and pilot their ideas.

January 11: Incubator Workshop for Finalists at Rippowam Cisqua Upper School

  • Participants meet with community experts again to “hatch” their projects, receive training on data collection, and learn more about Finals requirements. Students receive one point on final presentation for attending this workshop.
  • Participants sign a Seed Funding Agreement and obtain info about how to get pre-approval for expenses and seed funding. Click here for purchase order.

March 7: Mid-Way Report Due online

  • Finalists submit report on the status of their project. Click here. Students earn one point on final score for timely submission of this mid-way report before midnight on March 7, 2018.

Finalists, click here for Finals Overview, Tips and Timeline

April 26: Final Presentation Practice and upload by April 29

  • Final Report and Power Point Presentations. Students will earn one point towards their final score for on-time submission of the final report and presentation before midnight on April 29, 2018. Link to submit audio or visual materials for final presentation here.
  • Students will earn¬†one point for practicing their presentation with a faculty member (and having the faculty member email us that they did this prior to submission of Final presentation. Aim to do this by April 26 so you have time to make suggested changes before the Power Point is due by midnight on April 29.

May 1st: Final Round at 6:30pm at the Bedford Playhouse

  • Completed projects are presented at a community-wide Shark Tank event and Greenlight Award winner is selected. Click here for SCORE-IT score sheet.
  • Student presentations should be no longer than 5 minutes.
  • Student arrive by 6:15PM. You will be giving a presentation on stage before an audience.
  • Everyone who attends will be entered into our raffle to win prizes from area stores and restaurants. ¬†Please invite friends and family!
  • The winning team receives $500 cash prize! Runner up $250 prize.
  • Students and faculty mentors are asked to come up on stage at the end of the event for photos and a short reception with the judges. All participants are presented with a certificate or recognition from Westchester County.
  • All finalists are celebrated and press release with project results and photos sent to media.

Return to the Toolkit

Greenlight Award Communication

Download the app GroupMe and click below to join the group me chat for your school:

We will send out information and reminders this way. Thanks!

Faculty Information

Students meeting with faculty and community experts to develop project proposals.

About Greenlight

We are looking for students who want to make a difference.  This year’s theme, Changemaker 2020, is a behavioral change challenge.  There are many ways to tackle environmental problems and we need many solutions to drive change. We hope students and faculty from all subjects will get involved.

Who should participate?

Students who care about the environment, want to make a difference, and want to experience leadership, teamwork, public speaking, and drive to create something to use in a real-world experience. These are key skills to learn, apply, and add to a college application.

Students designed anti-idling signs and ran awareness and incentive campaign at Horace Greeley High School.


Choose any behavior people aren’t already doing – recycling, taking the bus, turning off lights (there are lists of hundreds of behaviors that are better for the environment) and then do something to get people to act that way. ¬†Students may develop any project to create awareness, inspire or otherwise cause change, and use this project to accomplish behavior change by the Finals in April.

  • Policy/Government ‚Äď drive change with a new rule
  • Marketing/Film/Art/Photography — inspire change with a message
  • Science/Tech/Entrepreneurship – help people change with an invention/solution
  • Writing/Tech – instruct and make it easier to change¬†with resources or events
  • Marketing ‚Äď promote change or promote a product that causes change
  • Activism ‚Äď drive change through grassroots organizing

Bedford 2020 encourages teamwork and multi-disciplinary approaches to tackle problems in our community. We offer resources on our website, at workshops, and in the way of funding, community expert mentors, and public relations outreach. To see more resources for students, please visit the Greenlight Toolkit.

Please Promote Greenlight

Please announce this opportunity to your classes.

If you know of students who would be interested in or would benefit from this program, please encourage them to check out the website and sign up online to participate.

If you have been asked  to be a faculty advisor, click here for more information.

Please contact us with any questions.

2016-2017 Let’s Reduce Solid Waste!

2016-2017 Greenlight Award Competition – Solid Waste Ideas! from Bedford 2020 on Vimeo.

Environmental Contest Winners Announced: All Greenlight Award Participants Show Ingenuity and Take on Big Challenges


Whether they went home with a trophy or not, all eight finalist teams in the Bedford 2020 Greenlight Award competition at Fox Lane High School on Friday, May 20, took on a challenge to combat greenhouse gas emissions or protect natural resources. All worked diligently to implement their projects and to improve our community this year. All deserve a round of applause!

According to Olivia Farr, Co-founder of Bedford 2020, ‚ÄúEach project was entirely unique and every one made a difference, and for that all of the teams deserve recognition and thanks for their great work.‚ÄĚ

These student projects have made an impression in our community and will continue to have a positive impact on the environment as they live on, Bedford 2020 hopes that the contest has had an impact on the students as well. Finals judge Jeff Tannenbaum thinks it will; as he said, ‚ÄúThere is no better way for kids to learn than through experiential learning – especially on long term projects. The Greenlight Finals were very inspiring and I am sure this program will benefit the contestants in terms of confidence, entrepreneurship, and tenacity far into the future.‚ÄĚ

Not only will these student projects live on beyond the Greenlight Award contest of 2015-2016, Bedford 2020 looks forward to partnering with other area schools to bring this opportunity to more students and evolve the Greenlight Award into an inter-school competition in the coming year. For more information visit www.bedford2020.org/greenlight

See below for photos and descriptions of the winning projects as well as the other finalist projects in the Greenlight Award competition.

High School Greenlight Award Winners Make the Case for Energy Efficiency

B2020_Greenlight_FINALS_0045Seniors Jesse Hoogland, Maya Koneval and Sajay Srivastava won the High School Greenlight Award and the $500 prize for their project on Efficient Lighting at Fox Lane High School. By evaulating lighting inefficiencies around the school and performing a cost benefit analysis to estimate monetary waste, the team concluded that the school could purchase LED bulbs for the entire building ‚Äúfor $38,700, and in one year the school would save $116,000 in energy costs.‚ÄĚ They also evaluated places where sensors and timers could cut down on light use and save both energy and money for the school. The team‚Äôs faculty advisor, Fred Neumann, also received a $500 grant. Perhaps returning students will take up the reins of this great project and push for adoption of these cost-effective recommendations at Fox Lane and other BCSD schools.

Middle School Winner Installs Solar ‚ÄúSun Stop‚ÄĚ at FLMS

Sun stopAsa Friedrich, an eighth grader, won the Middle School Greenlight Award and the $500 cash prize for his design, building, and installation of what he calls The Sun Stop: a shelter where students can wait for the bus under cover from the elements and charge their electronic devices at its solar-powered charging station. Asa would like to build more and larger Sun Stops, and hook them up to provide solar energy into the grid. This prototype serves as a demonstrative, educational tool for students to see and use solar power and read about how it works right in front of the Middle School while they wait for the bus. Asa worked with his faculty advisor, Christopher Grove, to build and install The Sun Stop.

High School Finalists:

Pound Ridge Elementary School Composting Program Implemented by High School Senior

Jessica with students at PRESFull implementation of a composting program at Pound Ridge Elementary School is the successful impact of Jessica Smith’s Greenlight Award project. A senior at Fox Lane High school, Jessica worked with the PRES administration and teachers, visited classrooms and taught the students about the importance of composting, sent home information to encourage composting at home, and integrated the program into the classrooms, cafeteria, and with the school garden program. Where no program existed before, there is now a successful composting program and a model for other schools in the district.

High School Sophomores Work Towards Enabling Local Food For All

Making local, healthy, fresh food available to all in our community is what high school sophomores, Michelle Paolicelli and Kathryn Tortorella set out to do with their Greenlight Award Project. In New York State paper ‚Äúfood stamps‚ÄĚ have been replaced by an electronic system where the state deposits funds for low-income families to buy food on an Electric Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that works like a debit card. However bringing an EBT machine to a local farmers‚Äô market is a process fraught with time-consuming meetings, paperwork and government hoops to jump through. Our community should be proud that Michelle and Kathryn have had the meetings, gathered the data, filled out the paperwork, and jumped through many of the hoops necessary to get approval by the state for an EBT machine (for free) at the Bedford Hills Farmers‚Äô Market. Local organization and farm market coordinator, Bedford Hills Live, will continue to monitor the process with the state until the machine is installed and will work to publicize its installation to the community who will use it.

Recycling Labeling Throughout the School District by High School Ninth Grader

Long term conditioning to impact behavior change is the intent of ninth grader George Quinn’s waste disposal bin labeling project. By undertaking to label every recycling and waste bin in the Bedford Central School District with uniform labels provided (free) by Recycle Across America, George anticipates that students will begin a school-long journey that will positively impact participation in school recycling because of a recognizable, systematic waste disposal system. While it is difficult to measure results of this project in the first couple of months, we are confident that this program will influence students, faculty and staff over time and increase recycling participation rates at all our schools. George has recently joined the Garden Club in their waste reduction efforts and it will be exciting to watch them build off of the great work George started with this project.

Middle School Finalists:

Aquaponics: Seventh Graders Build a Closed-Loop System to Educate Middle School About Sustainabilityaquaponics1 (1) copy

‚ÄúEducating the community‚ÄĚ is what these three seventh grade finalists¬†set out to do and they learned even more in the process of designing and building an aquaponics growing system in their science classroom with the help of their teacher Carl Koehler. The closed-loop system is now set up as an example of sustainable growing and many students will see it and learn from it. The boys explained to the judges how the system works: the fish feces fertilizes the plants through the roots that hang down in the water and the roots filter the water to keep the tank clean for the fish.

The Forest of Possibilities: Sixth Grader Coordinates Giant Volunteer Effort for Land Conservation and Tree Planting

IMG_1422 copy‚Äú400 new trees‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúover 70 volunteers‚ÄĚ are the numbers reported by the¬†Fox Lane Middle School sixth grade finalist, who worked with Jeff Main at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation to engage student and parent volunteers on several occasions to remove invasive species, clear a path, and plant 400 baby trees in the area that was once known as the Cathedral of the Pines but was decimated in Superstorm Sandy. All the volunteers learned a great deal about land conservation and will one day see a beautiful forest grow up and be restored where vine-choked stumps used to be. Eugenia wants to continue working in land conservation with volunteers at either at Ward Pound Ridge or in other parks in our area.

Fox Lane Ride Share: Middle Schooler Takes on Creating Carpooling Website for FLMSScreen Shot 2016-05-24 at 5.10.57 PM

‚ÄúApproximately 500 hours‚ÄĚ is how much time the finalist sixth grader at Fox Lane Middle School, told the judges he estimates he spent on designing and working with programmers in India to launch a Fox Lane Ride Share website to encourage and coordinate carpools among Fox Lane Middle School families. The website has not yet been tested in the community, but there is no doubt that his¬†time will not be wasted as he has pledged to continue to roll out the idea and engage parents in participating next year. With all of the cars going to many of the same practices and school events, encouraging carpooling should save on car emissions as well as increase safety due to less cars on school property.

Finalists Enter Shark Tank on May 20th

April 20, 2016

Greenlight Award Finals: Student Climate Action Projects go Into the ‚ÄúShark Tank‚ÄĚ at Fox Lane High School, Friday, May 20 at 7pm

Eight local students will go into the ‚ÄúShark Tank‚ÄĚ at Fox Lane High School Auditorium on Friday, May 20th to compete in finals of Bedford 2020‚Äôs the Greenlight Award contest. The entire community is invited to attend what is sure to be an exciting and inspirational evening featuring environmental leaders from the Bedford community. Similar to the popular television show, our renowned panel of judges will hear presentations of finalists‚Äô ‚Äúbig green projects‚ÄĚ and ask them tough questions to determine which project has proven to have the greatest potential impact. At the end of the night, one team from the Middle School and one from the High School will win the Greenlight Award and a cash prize.

Bedford 2020 and Bedford Central School District teamed up to pilot the Greenlight Award Competition this year. The program has garnered a great deal of interest and support from the student body, school faculty and staff and community members. ‚ÄúWe were blown away by how many students were interested in participating in the competition and by the creativity and range of environmental solutions that have been presented as part of this year-long program‚ÄĚ said Olivia Farr of Bedford 2020


The finalists are now finishing up their projects and preparing their presentations for the final, community-wide event. Here is a summary of the projects:


Farmers’ Market EBT Machine

Michelle Paolicelli and Kathryn Tortorella, high school juniors, set out to install an EBT machine at a local farmers market to enable low-income people to gain affordable access to local food. This team has reached out to and partnered with community organizations like Neighbors Link and Bedford Hills Live. They have gathered demographic research to support an EBT effort in Bedford Hills and they are conducting surveys through Neighbors Link to assess interest. Due to the short time frame of the Greenlight Award competition, the machine installation will not happen by the finals, but by doing the research, gathering data, preparing the paperwork, creating advertising materials, and planning/holding an event at the market to promote the concept of the machine, the students hope to get the ball rolling for Bedford Hills Live to complete the job in the future.

Recycling Labeling

Ninth grader George Quinn is working with Recycle Across America to obtain standardized recycling labels and install them on every trash and recycling bin in the BCSD School District. Part of his project is to determine the effectiveness of the labeling by measuring the recycling levels before and after the labeling.

Composting at Pound Ridge Elementary School

Jessica Smith, a 12 grader, set out to educate the students at Pound Ridge Elementary about the benefits of composting and to set up a composting system at the school to convert food scraps into usable compost for the school garden. She has sent home flyers to explain the program to parents and to also encourage composting at home. She is presenting to the students and working with the third graders to help monitor the program in the cafeteria. She hopes to have the full program up and running before the finals. As part of the program the students will measure the amount of materials that are sent to the composter by weighing the food scraps collected so that they can compile data on the amount of waste diverted from the waste stream.

Efficient Lighting Solutions
Maya Koneval, Jesse Hoodland, Sajay Srivastava, seniors, will outline discoveries found through testing with lumen sensors around the high school and will make administrative recommendations for efficient lighting solutions. They obtained data sensors to track lumen output of various lights around campus and spoke with custodians, faculty and administrators about the lighting and possible alternative solutions. By the finals they will likely produce a list of recommendations that will be up to BCSD to actually implement. However Maya, Jesse and Sajay might be able to get some commitments from the school on changes to happen in the near future.


Conservation at Ward Pound Ridge

Eugenia Kaltsas, a 6th grader, organized a volunteer effort at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation to do a land conservation project in the former Cathedral of the Pines that was mostly destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. Volunteers will pull invasive plants and plant trees. Eugenia recruited volunteers by making announcements and putting up flyers at school. She has already had one volunteer day where volunteers pulled out mile-a-minute vines and cleared a path. On May 1st she will return with a team of volunteers to plant up to 200 trees. The results will come in the future when the trees grow, sequester carbon and release oxygen as well as restore this beautiful, natural place.

Aquaponic Farming

Ian Delannes-Molka, Harrison Konopka, Rahul Menon, 7th graders, are building an aquaponic, closed-loop, sustainable growing system in the Middle School and will use it to educate the school community and inspire research and action. In an aquaponic system, the fish in the tank provides nutrients to the plant through the roots that hang down in the tank, and the roots filter the water to keep it clean for the fish. The students want to bring awareness of environmental and health benefits of sustainable growing and will use surveys to determine if student awareness increases.

Fox Lane Ride Share

Jackson Lawrence, a 6th grader, has set out to create a carpooling system to be implemented at Fox Lane Middle School. He has done a ‚Äúmock up‚ÄĚ of a website for parents to use to give and get rides for their children. Jackson is now working with programmers in India to design and launch his website. He has prepared flyers to educate people about the site and how to use it. If the site is ready, he hopes to pilot it with a small group of people, gather feedback and measure results before the finals.

Sun Stop

Asa Friedrich, an 8th grader, is building a prototype bus shelter with a solar panel roof that will actively produce light and power as well as provide shelter from the elements. He plans to install this at Fox Lane Middle School and test it as a bus shelter/power generator. He has been working on building the project and has met with several community experts such as Brian LaKamp of Totem, Inc., a solar entrepreneur, and Mark Theilking, Executive Director, Energize NY. Asa plans to measure the electricity produced by the SunStop and interview students about their impression of it.

Bedford 2020 is working to partner with more area schools to bring this opportunity to more students and evolve the Greenlight Award into an inter-school competition in the coming years.

How the Greenlight Award Contest works:

  • Students work in teams or individually to come up with a project in the fall that will have an impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions or protect natural resources in the community. Bedford 2020 helps students create a plan. The pilot launched last fall with over 60 students attending the kick-off meeting.
  • In December, all teams presented before the Round One judges who chose the finalists. 30 students participated in Round One and 9 final projects were selected to move ahead and compete in the finals. Bedford 2020 granted the finalists seed-funding to fully develop their ideas and connected them with community experts.
  • Each team has a faculty advisor who has generously volunteered to oversee these students throughout their projects.
  • On May 20th finalists will present their results before a panel of judges who will decide which project wins the Greenight Award.

The finals will be an exciting and entertaining event. At the event Bedford 2020 will also honor Drew Patrick for his incredible commitment to sustainability and his support of Bedford 2020 initiatives.