BENTONVILLE, Ark., June 9, 2009 - Small, every day changes can make a big difference to the environment. Two schools in the Cleveland area have put this idea into practice, and are now among 20 schools from across the country that are being recognized for their efforts: they've been named finalists in the Walmart "Earth Day Every Day School Challenge."
Each school will receive a $500 Walmart gift card, which can be used to purchase items that will help enhance its eco-friendly activities. In addition, the schools will have the opportunity to compete for the grand prize: a $20,000 grant from Walmart to further its environmental projects.
"At Walmart, we believe that Earth Day should be every day, and small changes can collectively make a big difference for the environment," said Matt Kistler, senior vice president of sustainability, Walmart. "The schools that participated in the 'Earth Day Every Day School Challenge,' especially the 20 finalist schools, are examples of young Americans making a difference in their communities, and Walmart is honored to recognize their efforts."
Old Trail School (Bath, Ohio) and West Geauga High School (Chesterland, Ohio) have been selected by three independent judges (teachers and environmental experts) from among 439 qualified essays, which described the steps taken by each school to help make the world a greener place. Some of the things that each school has done include:
- Old Trail School
- o A request by first graders for reusable water bottles, which they'll use for their next eight years at the school
- o An annual energy audit of the school by fourth graders, which the students present to administrators, along with recommendations for reducing energy use
- o A paper recycling program run by the sixth graders
- West Geauga High School
- o A student-built outdoor classroom area, complete with native plants, recycled plastic benches (which they built), and eco-friendly bridges on a nature trail through the woods
- o A newspaper, bottle and can recycling program, which collects over 100 pounds of bottles and cans per week
- o The "Better Bulb" campaign, which switched hundreds of light bulbs in the community and at the school to CFLs
All finalists who elect to compete for the grand prize must submit a short video (three to five minutes in length) showcasing the environmental activities and projects described in their essays. The competing schools' videos and essays will be posted at http://www.earthdayeverydaychallenge.com, and starting on June 9, adults 18 years of age or older can vote for the school they believe should be awarded the grand prize, based on the following criteria (weighted equally):
- Involvement of the student body in initiating/continuing the eco-friendly activities/projects/efforts
- Demonstration of the school's commitment to eco-friendly practices
- Originality/creativity of the eco-friendly activities/projects/efforts
The school that receives the highest number of votes will be awarded the $20,000 grant. Voting will end on June 19 at 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time. Individuals must register with the website to cast a vote.
For more information about the Walmart "Earth Day Every Day School Challenge - and to see if Old Trail School and/or West Geauga High School will compete for the $20,000 grant - please visit http://www.earthdayeverydaychallenge.com. For more information on how Walmart can help customers save money and live green, visit http://www.walmart.com/green.
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