Creative students envision a Beautiful Future
If you could imagine a beautiful future, what would it look like? Beautiful Future Contest participants responded at Family Energy Night, on Jan. 28, with comments such as, “Everyone would have the clean air, oxygen and water they need.” “Every home would have solar panels.” “Every source of energy would be clean energy.” “We must envision a pure world with full of energy, pure air, water and good health for all. Let’s come together to make our world a beautiful place.”
The students backed up their commentary with award-winning entries in the contest, sponsored by Nevada County Climate Action Now (NC-CAN) and Sustainable Energy Group (SEG), with additional support from Clean Energy Cooperative and the Nevada County School District.
The solar design contest required site research, energy-and cost-saving calculations, and blueprints or dioramas. An entry submitted by Jessica Rivenes added natural gas and many energy saving elements to the plan. Paxx Weidert created a floating home with solar panels above and a kelp bed in the water below, to feed energy back to the grid. Tryggvi Pehling made extensive preparations by watching the angle of the sun at different hours of the day before building his diorama and determining the energy needs of the home. David Ban compared the long-term savings available on his grandparents’ energy bills, to calculate the number of panels they would need before creating his very accurate blueprint.
Meanwhile, arts students’ efforts proved equally creative. Mari Zeigler depicted the potential of human ideas to create a beautiful future. Isabella DeGruccio’s design suggested the role of human hand in preserving flora and fauna and life-giving clean water. Trisha Kantak created a triptik of three aspects of a healthy ecosystem, and Kaashwi Shah drew her vision of a pure earth.
An outstanding essay by Stella Reeves offered examples of the power of purpose in making honorable decisions. She cited projects such as the elimination of plastics and wrote about her goal of becoming an environmental judge. To cap the evening, eleven year-old poet Hope Searles inspired listeners with her poem, “Stars in the Sky.”
These contestants appeared as the main feature at the Zoom celebration of the Beautiful Futures finalists. The Nevada County School District had opened up the contest to its schools. Contestants outside the district also heard about the opportunity online. The event included a preview of the energy pyramid, based on county-wide efforts to provide clean energy information and resources. Don Rivenes, represented NC-CAN, and Claire Kasinadhuni, a Civic Sparks Fellow for the Sierra Business Council, also spoke.
Solar Design Awards
Best Energy Efficiency: Jessica Rivenes
Best Site Research: Tryggvi Pehling
Best Calculations: David Ban
Most Creative Energy Plan: Paxx Weidert
Family Energy Prize: The Pehling Family
First-Place Illustration, Junior Division: Kaashwi Shah
First-Place Illustration, Upper Elementary: Trisha Kantak
First-Place Illustration, Middle School: Isabella DeGruccio
First Place, Illustration High School: Mari Zeigler
Honorable Mention Illustration: Jacob Lee
First-Place Essay: Stella Reeves
First Place Poetry: Hope Searles
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