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Whitehall students recognized for national environmental award | Community Spirit

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Whitehall students recognized for national environmental award
Whitehall students recognized for national environmental award

Seven Whitehall Middle School students and their teacher will be awarded the Michigan State Senate’s White Pine Award by Senator Geoff Hansen (R-Hart) this Friday, April 20, at 10:00 a.m. in the gym at the middle school located at 401 Elizabeth Street.

The students, Alaina Anderson, Breann Comstock, Brooke Bachelder, Nathan McWhinnie, Elle Bachelder, Victoria Learman and Morgan Mitteer, and their teacher Susan Tate, are being recognized for their environmental work that led to the group’s becoming a first place winner in the national Lexus Eco Challenge. The White Pine Award is given annually in recognition of efforts to protect Michigan’s natural resources. The students will be planting the tree on the grounds of the middle school.

The Carbon Busters, as students call their environmental club team, participated in two phases of the Lexus Eco Challenge competition. During the first phase students worked to reduce their school’s carbon footprint through recycling and encouraging teachers and students to reduce their energy consumption by turning off lights and digital projectors when not in use. As one of 16 teams that advanced to the second phase of the challenge, the team was awarded $10,000 and the chance to win the $30,000 grand prize. Each team member received $1,000, while Tate received $1,000 and the school received $2,000, with the stipulation that the money be used for science-related supplies or activities.

During the second phase students explored the environmental and cost impact of bottled water vs. tap water. The students mounted a successful campaign to have Governor Snyder proclaim the week of March 4th as the state’s “Tap Water Week” to raise awareness of the waste and expense of bottled water. Their first place finish at the national level earned them $10,000 in scholarship money to share. The school was awarded $3,000 and Tate $2,000 to be used for educational supplies.