A program of automaker Lexus and children's publishing company Scholastic, the Lexus Eco Challenge is an educational program and contest designed to inspire and empower middle and high school students in the United States to learn about the environment and take action to improve it. In its sixth year, the program will award a total of $500,000 in grants and scholarships.
The competition is open to students in grades 6-12 who are either registered and home-schooled or enrolled in a public or accredited private school, and who are legal residents of the U.S. or the District of Columbia. Teams of students can enter if they are part of an afterschool science or environmental club, but the challenge is not open to clubs outside of school.
Middle and high school teams comprised of five to ten students and a teacher-advisor are invited to participate in one or both of the two initial challenges, each addressing different environmental elements — land/water and air/climate.
For each of the challenges, teams define an environmental issue that is important to them, develop an action plan to address the issue, implement the plan, and report the results. The submission deadline for Challenge 1 (land/water) is October 29, 2012; the deadline for Challenge 2 (air/climate) is December 17, 2012.
Each of the challenges will have sixteen winning entries — eight middle school and eight high school teams. The winning teams each will receive a total of $10,000 in scholarships and grants to be shared among the students, teacher, and school.
In early January, the winning teams from the first two challenges will be invited to participate in the program's final challenge. Teams will be asked to reach beyond the local community and inspire environmental action around the world through innovative ideas that are communicated to a wide audience. From the final challenge entries, eight first-place teams and two grand prize-winning teams will be selected. Each of the eight first-place teams will receive a total of $15,000 in grants and scholarships, and two grand prize-winning teams will each receive $30,000. The money will be shared by the students, their teacher-advisors, and their schools.
For complete program information and entry requirements, visit the Eco Challenge Web site.