Students Get Dollars and Sense in Lexus Eco Challenge - $500,000 Awarded to Teams Who Learn About Environment and Community Empowerment

lexus eco challenge

TORRANCE, CA--Feb. 24, 2014: It's a win, win situation! Communities become a better place, and students, teachers and schools have the chance to share $500,000 in scholarships and grants through the Lexus Eco Challenge.

This year, the $30,000 Grand Prize winners are the Pinelands Eco Scienteers from Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, and the E.T. Electrical Team from Byron Center, Michigan.

The Lexus Eco Challenge is an educational program and contest that inspires and empowers young people to learn about the environment and take action to improve it. High school and middle school teams nationwide define an environmental issue that is important to them, develop an action plan to address the issue, implement the plan, and report on the results.

The Pineland Eco Scienteers from Pinelands Regional High School focused on reducing deforestation in third world countries. They developed a machine that presses locally found combustible materials into briquettes to use as an alternative to cutting trees for cooking fuel.

The winning middle school, Byron Center West, earned money to send water filters to Haiti and the Philippines to help local villages create a more sustainable environment.

For their efforts, the students, teacher advisor and school each get a part of the $30,000 prize. Students share $20,000 in scholarships while their teacher receives a $3,000 grant and the school earns $7,000.

Additionally, eight First Place winning teams will receive $15,000 each.

More than 1,500 students participated in the 2013-2014 Lexus Eco Challenge. Thirty-two middle and high school teams each received $10,000 for their programs in the Land/Water or Air/Climate challenges. For the final challenge, all 32 finalist teams were asked to reach beyond the local community and inspire environmental action around the world through innovative ideas that are communicated to a wide audience.

The grand prize and first place teams that best addressed environmental challenges are:

Final Challenge Winners

State, City

School Name

Team Name

Project Summary

High School Grand Prize Winner

NJ -  Little Egg Harbor

Pinelands Regional High School

Pinelands Eco Scienteers

Designed, made and distributed low-cost briquette presses to rural villages where deforestation is occurring at an alarming rate.

High School First Prize Winners

CA – La Crescenta

Clark Magnet High School

The Enviros

Researched and monitored footage of the marine environment to create story maps and a PSA about the global issues of marine debris.

FL – Newberry

Newberry High School

The NHS Renewables

Created a lesson plan and comic book with superheroes to educate children on the importance of caring for their environment.

MO – St. Louis

Parkway North High School

Team WasteBusters

Planted air-pruned trees around the community to increase the potential growth rate of trees and built a vermicomposter that recycled nutrients.

PA – Birdsboro

Daniel Boone Area High School

Go Clean, Go Green, Goooo Algae!

Created a public relations and education campaign to spread the word beyond their community across the U.S. and globally that renewable algae-based biofuels are a sustainable replacement for nonrenewable crude oil- based fuels.

Middle School Grand Prize Winner

MI – Byron Center

Byron Center West Middle School

Team E.T.

Fundraised to send water filters to Haiti, Philippines and Kenya and help build a well in Haiti.

Middle School  First Prize Winners

AZ – Phoenix

All Saints' Episcopal Day School

Eco Tigers

Used recycled market shopping bags to make jump ropes and crochet bags for a school in Haiti.

MI – Whitehall

Whitehall Middle School


Minimized food waste by creating a cookbook of recipes that utilized at least one leftover food item.

NC – Chapel Hill

Guy B. Phillips Middle School

Trash Terminators 2.0

Diverted 80% of cafeteria trash from going to the landfill by creating worm bins for classrooms and encouraged composting at home.

TX – Whiteface

Whiteface Middle School

Arsenic Arresters

Distributed an inexpensive water filter for use in India.

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