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

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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, “Each 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.”

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, “There 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.”

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 “for $38,700, and in one year the school would save $116,000 in energy costs.” 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’s 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 “Sun Stop” 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 “food stamps” 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’ 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’ 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

“Educating the community” 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“400 new trees” and “over 70 volunteers” 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

“Approximately 500 hours” 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.