Giant Bear Hugs

The Grand Prize winners from the 2010 Project Polar Bear Contest were recently announced at the San Diego Zoo. We were privileged to sponsor this event — and as in years past, we were absolutely amazed by what these teams of teens accomplished.

Competing with teams from across the US, 4 finalists were announced last month: Energy Angels from Southwestern Pennsylvania, AHS Zoo School from North Carolina, Care Bears from Ohio and Earth Club from Wisconsin. The overall results from the contest garnered some pretty spectacular statistics — they collectively reduced carbon emissions by over 30 million pounds with projects ranging from conducting energy audits and distributing energy-saving CFL light bulbs to fundraising and educational outreach.

The winning team, Energy Angels, is an energetic threesome: Stephanie Mandella, Jennifer Urban and Alexandra Ruhl. These 14-year-olds were tireless during the three-month-long contest, educating their community about the benefits of switching to CFL bulbs with the slogan “Change a Bulb, Save a Bear.” They held fundraisers and partnered with local companies to buy the energy-efficient bulbs to give away at community events. And they held a Power Down challenge in which teachers and parents competed to reduce their electricity bills.

Their efforts paid off with giveaways of 1,958 CFL bulbs; 150 energy-saving pledges; and CO2 reductions of more than 1.5 million pounds! And come this fall, they will embark on their Grand Prize Tundra Buggy trip to Churchill, Manitoba to see polar bears in the wild.

In second place, AHS Zoo School from North Carolina was no less inspiring. Kaitlin Thompson, Julie Hodgin and Cameron Kania were trained to conduct energy audits in schools and local businesses and to make recommendations for adopting greener practices. They gave away thousands of energy efficient, CFL light bulbs, coaxing local company Randolph Electric to donate truckloads of them. These kids are persuasive!

As the runners up, they enjoyed a day at Sea World in San Diego and were treated to a Beluga Encounter. With their fellow finalists cheering them on, they got ‘up-close-and-personal’ with these beautiful creatures.

To learn more about Project Polar Bear, please visit Polar Bears International. Registration for the 2011 Contest begins October 1st — so mark you calendars!

Sam is the PR and Photographer Relations Manager for Lowepro’s Worldwide Marketing team.


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