Our Pennsylvania Environmental Challenge presented by YSA concluded with an event earlier this summer. We had some incredible submissions for this challenge. The students, with occasional help from our advisory board, came up with innovative ways to achieve the core mission of this challenge: teach our youngest children sustainable ways, and promote awareness in communities of unsafe environmental practice around them. Below is a breakdown of awards and grant money handed out:
Creative Breakthrough: Awarded to student groups who were able to start new problems at their schools for the challenge
- The Shipley School: students from Shipley have started an initiative which, over the course of a year, will save hundreds of thousands of gallons of virtual water! They have convinced their cafeteria to go “meatless” one day every month. Why is this such a big deal? A ⅓ pound hamburger uses around 660 gallons of virtual water to be made (virtual water calculates the water used to feed the cow, butcher the cow, transport the meat, etc).
- Baldwin: Students from Baldwin started an annual initiative at the school to turn off non-essential lights in the building to promote the practice to be done by students at home. For how this immensely helps the environment, click here.
- The Haverford School won 500 dollars for their initiative which attempted to spread awareness to over 50 towns across Pennsylvania by contacting town officials about the dangers of unsafe fracking practices. The students are planning on using the grant money to place newspaper ads in these towns warning of these very dangers, such as the fact that 5-10 percent of wells leak into ground water (according to conservative industry estimates), and around 3.6 to 7.2 percent of the methane escapes into the atmosphere.
- The Agnes Irwin School won three hundred dollars for their school composting initiative. They will be using the money to get more bins to expand the practice in the school.
- Baldwin will be using their two hundred dollar grant to purchase more eco-efficient light bulbs for a part of the school.
The highlight for the students at the event was certainly hearing from Pennsylvania Democratic Nominee for USA senate, Katie McGinty (The office of Incumbent Senator Pat Toomey declined our invitation). Katie spoke of the huge impact seemingly small local activism can cause by channeling touching anecdotes of the power she has seen hundred dollar urban grants have on citizens. Pictured in the post are some of our students with Ms. McGinty.