News Releases from Region 10
EPA Honors Redmond, Washington High School Students for Outstanding Environmental Work to Reduce Their Carbon Footprint
Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized 13 student leaders at the Tesla STEM High School in Redmond, Washington, for their outstanding work to reduce their carbon footprint at school and home. The high school students’ project is among 15 student projects from 13 states to receive the 2016 President’s Environmental Youth Award for their environmental education and stewardship achievements. EPA presented the award at a ceremony today at the Tesla STEM High School.
“Today, we are pleased to honor these impressive young leaders, who demonstrate the impact that a few individuals can make to protect our environment,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These students are empowering their peers, educating their communities, and demonstrating the STEM skills needed for this country to thrive in the global economy.”
The student Leadership Team of Tesla STEM High School launched “Schools Under 2C,” a group dedicated to raising youth awareness about the environment. Consisting of over 100 students, Schools Under 2C have lead their school to reduce their carbon footprint by over a ton and a half each month. The students have also worked to demonstrate that reducing emissions is not only beneficial to the environment, but saves their school district money as well. The student Leadership Team has challenged other schools across the nation to do the same, and already almost 30 schools, including schools in Australia, Asia and Africa, have joined their program to take on the “Schools Under 2C” Challenge. By leading their school to reduce their carbon footprint, they have set a precedent for the rest of the community.
“It is exciting to watch our students develop a proactive program to address solutions to climate change in our school while educating students in other schools about the need to contain the increase of global temperatures to below 2 degrees,” said Mike Town, Tesla STEM High School teacher and Schools Under 2C sponsor.
Through simple educational programs, the students have been sparking behavioral changes throughout their school. They began monitoring and reducing lighting usage within each classroom, and teachers have pledged to turn off their lights during their planning period and lunch. They have worked with their county’s Green School Program to implement a composting program. The students have also started an educational campaign to encourage students to take “greener” alternative modes of transportation to and from school. They are partnering with the City of Redmond to develop a smart phone app to encourage students to bus, carpool, bike, or walk to school. Using the app, students will be able to track how they travel to school every day and earn rewards for taking cleaner modes of transportation with a prize from a local business.
Besides challenging other schools to join their Schools Under 2C program, they have organized outreach events to raise awareness on environmental issues in the communities. They are still expanding and growing. In the future, through Schools Under 2C, the students will continue educating the next generation on solving environmental issues, one degree at a time.
More information about President’s Environmental Youth Awards: