Carbon-Cutting Kids Cop Cool Cash

Helping reduce carbon emissions is not only good for the environment, it can also have financial advantages. That’s what the schools that participated in Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow (CO2) discovered. The month-long energy conservation challenge, put on by Alcoa Foundation and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), ended with six of the eight schools winning grants totaling $9,000.

The Gilbert School in Winsted, Conn., won the grand prize. The school completed a whopping 793 percent of its pledge list, according to the competition’s leader board. The school was rewarded with a $5,000 grant for engaging the most students, teachers, families and community members.

image via Alcoa Foundation

Regional runner-up schools included: Howell Middle School in Victoria, Texas; Kulshan Middle School in Bellingham, Wash.; and the Nellie B. Chisholm Middle School in Montague, Mich. Runners-up each received a $1,000 grants. An honorable mention and $500 prize went to both Northwestern Regional Middle School in Winsted, Conn., and Whitehall Middle School in Whitehall, Mich.

The focus of the project was to increase sustainability through reducing, recycling and replenishing. Energy saving projects included everything from riding bikes instead of driving, to recycling in the classroom, to making energy saving changes around the home.

“The enthusiasm shown by these students was really awe-inspiring,” Katie Mandes, C2ES vice president of community engagement and director of the Make an Impact program, said in a statement. “Solving our climate and energy dilemma will require a collective effort and there is clearly a role for individuals. We expect that these students will continue to make smart energy choices in their daily lives.”

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.