Finalists Enter Shark Tank on May 20th

April 20, 2016

Greenlight Award Finals: Student Climate Action Projects go Into the “Shark Tank” at Fox Lane High School, Friday, May 20 at 7pm

Eight local students will go into the “Shark Tank” at Fox Lane High School Auditorium on Friday, May 20th to compete in finals of Bedford 2020’s 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’ “big green projects” 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. “We 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” 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 “mock up” 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.

Greenlight Finals Will Feature Renowned Panel of Judges

April 25, 2016


Fox Lane Students Enter the “Shark Tank” Facing an Impressive Panel of Expert Judges at Greenlight Award Final Competition on May 20th

On Friday May 20, eight Fox Lane High School and Middle School students will enter Bedford 2020’s virtual “shark tank” and compete for the Greenlight award. This event will be the culmination of a year-long contest in which students have been developing and bringing to life big green ideas and competing for the distinction of winning the Greenlight award. Community members are invited to attend this event and watch our local students (aka, our future environmental leaders) in action.

Like the popular TV show, “Shark Tank”, students will present their final projects to a panel of distinguished, expert judges who will ask them tough questions and then vote for the Greenlight winners, one from the high school and one from the middle school. The final eight competitors were selected from a pool of thirty students who participated in round one of the competition last December.

When the student finalists enter the “tank” on May 20th, they will be facing a panel of “sharks” with deep and varied experience in the areas sustainability, business and in the non-profits world. Panelists were selected based on their depth of knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit and passion for making a difference on our planet. Olivia Farr, Co-Founder of Bedford 2020 explained, “We wanted judges who would bring a depth of knowledge and real life experience to the task of questioning competitors and selecting the final winners. We also thought it was important to identify panelists who would inspire and serve as role models for our competitors and everyone in the audience.”

The panel of distinguished judges selected for the Greenlight finals includes:

Wendy Gordon, Co-founder, CEO 3P Partners, Inc. Experienced entrepreneur and pioneer in the conscious consumer movement, Wendy is founder and CEO of ‘Positive Impact Points’ or PIPs Rewards. A trademarked brand of 3P Partners, a Certified B Corporation, PIPs leverages the power of points, smart tools and games to record and reward daily life choices that deliver personal and planetary benefit. PIPs won ‘Best Game’ prize in BigAppsNYC 2014 competition, the nation’s leading civic innovations competition.

Derval Thomas works as an environmental engineer at EPA with bachelor and masters degrees in chemical engineering. Bedford resident, Thomas, has been working for the Environmental Protection Agency for over 28 years, where he currently manages a technical staff of seven engineers in his position as Chief of the Hazardous Waste Compliance Section. In his current role, he is responsible for ensuring that the regulated community (industrial, manufacturing, and hospital sectors) complies with regulations under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a federal environmental law. Working with EPA’s and Department of Justice legal teams, Derval coordinates development of enforcement cases against companies found in violation of RCRA regulations and he participates in legally binding negotiated settlement of these cases.

Jeff Tannenbaum, Founder Fir Tree partners, sPower: Sustainable Power Group, and Katonah resident Jeff Tanenbuam formed Fir Tree Partners, a private global investment firm, in 1994 and serves as its Chairman.  Mr. Tannenbaum founded and currently chairs sPower, one of the largest solar utilities in the US. Through the Fir Tree Philanthropies (“FTP”). Mr. Tannenbaum focuses on accelerating America’s energy independence and promoting sustainable capitalism through innovations in public policy, finance and entrepreneurship. FTP sponsors a variety of global sustainability projects and operates a Scientist in Residence program in Long Island. Through FTP, Mr. Tannenbaum organized our nation’s first major bi-partisan symposium focused on eliminating foreign oil dependence and hosted President Obama’s energy cabinet members for their 100 day planning retreat.  Mr. Tannenbaum also founded and chairs the not for profit which has helped create a new form of financing home and building energy retrofits.

Jayni Chase, Environmental Education and Green School Advocate. Acting on the belief that positive environmental change must begin with the education of our children, Jayni Chase founded the Center for Environmental Education in 1988 and authored Blueprint for a Green School, published by Scholastic in 1995. She is the Founding Chair of the GREEN Community Schools initiative, being implemented in 5 cities by the direct-service organization, MGR Youth Empowerment. She serves on the boards of Cool Globes, MGR Youth Empowerment, the USGBC Center for Green Schools, Friends of the Earth, the NY Harbor Foundation and is a member of Pleiades, a network of women working on sustainability.

David Fenton, Chairman of Fenton. David founded the Fenton agency in 1982 to create communications campaigns for the environment, public health and human rights. David also leads the agency’s Energy and Climate practice, while also contributing to other NGO, foundation, government and corporate responsibility clients. The National Journal called David “the Robin Hood of public relations,” while PR Week named him “one of the 100 most influential P.R. people.” Some of his best-known campaigns include aiding the rise of, stimulating the rise of organic food sales, a decade representing Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, saving swordfish from extinction with a coalition of top chefs, running Yoko Ono’s campaign which helped stop fracking in New York State, working with Al Gore and the United Nations on climate change, public health campaigns against tobacco and toxic chemicals, and many others.

This panel of judges will hear students present their final project on topics ranging from a solar bus shelter to a farmers’ market food justice program to launching elementary school composting to a program for removing invasive plants from a local preserve and more. This is sure to be an action-packed and engaging evening, not to be missed. The event takes place at the Theater at Fox Lane High school at 7:00pm on Friday, May 20th. Be sure mark your calendar and come see our local “shark tank” in action find out who will win Greenlight award. For more information, visit

Greenlight Award™ Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Bedford 2020 and they will be happy to answer them for you!