Shane McConkey EcoChallenge open for 2020-21 submissions; $22,500 to be awarded to teams that address climate change
Special to The Union
TRUCKEE — The annual Shane McConkey EcoChallenge has launched its 2020-21 program and will award teams of students up to $22,500 for projects that protect the environment and fight climate change.
The EcoChallenge began in 2013 with a goal of challenging students to identify and resolve environmental issues in their community. Winning teams then receive funding from the foundation to help enact the projects.
“The EcoChallenge is a competition for students nationwide to learn about and implement environmental change,” said Sherry McConkey, founder and president of the Shane McConkey Foundation, in a news release. “This Earth gives us all life. Through the water we drink, air we breathe and the food we eat. The small choices we make have a huge impact on the future of our planet. The EcoChallenge truly motivates a younger generation to start thinking about environmental wellbeing and use their voice to evoke change.”
Last year, fourth- and fifth-grade students from Donner Trail Elementary took first place, winning $8,000 for a project that encouraged recycling caps and lids from various projects. The project saved 400 hundred pounds of plastic from going to waste. Students from the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District involved in SWEP Sustainability Club took second place and $4,000 for creating 45 art pieces from litter that was removed from the bottom of Lake Tahoe. Another local school, Creekside Charter, took third place in the national contest, winning $2,000 for a project promoting the use of less paper in the form of junk mail. The project was able to convince 40 post office box users to opt out of junk mail.
“We can teach kids about issues in the environment and global sustainability but in the end, they have to learn how to take action on their words,” added Lynn Akers, fourth-grade teacher at Sierra Expeditionary Learning School. “The EcoChallenge teaches students to look within their community and their school to identify a challenge, study it, and find a real world solution to solve it. This kind of experiential, hands-on learning teaches kids to care about what they’re studying. Ultimately, we are creating informed citizens who care about the planet and want to solve the ecological problems of tomorrow.”
This year, the EcoChallenge is being broken into three categories based on how far judges determine the teams of students’ action plans are taken. Last year’s Stay-At-Home EcoChallenge is also returning, allowing students that are distance learning to become involved.
Established in 2012, the Shane McConkey Foundation honors legendary skier Shane McConkey, and supports environmental education, animal protection, and organizations that are committed to making a positive difference locally and globally. To date, the Shane McConkey Foundation and its sponsors, supporters and donors have raised over $550,000 for charitable causes and organizations.
Visit http://www.shanemcconkey.org/shane-mcconkey-ecochallenge for more information and to sign up for the 2020-21 EcoChallenge. Submissions are due by April 9.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of The Union. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.
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