Project Polar Bear is a way for small groups of young people to collectively make a big difference! This bi-national contest offered by Polar Bears International (PBI) challenges teams of students to develop community projects that reduce the carbon dioxide load in the atmosphere. PBI teams up with zoos, aquariums, science centers, and other like-minded partners on the contest—anywhere in the U.S. and Canada with teens 14–17 years old and an adult mentor who want to take part in the challenge. Four teams from the Pittsburgh area entered the contest.
Judging takes place in early spring the highest ranked team is announced in April. Prizes for the 2011-2012 contest include a trip to Churchill, polar bear capital of the world, for the highest ranked team and their mentor, and a trip to San Diego, with special tours at the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego, for the two honorable mention teams and their mentor.
Margie Marks, curator of conservation education at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium counsels each team as requested and offers any resources the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium can provide.
Below is a list of the four teams from the Pittsburgh Region and the projects they have created.
Adult Advisor: Heather Nyapas
Team Members: Nicholas Cross, Mitchell Mroczkowski, Jeremy Pike
Project Category: Close the Loop
Project Outline: We will recycle old jeans to cut down on landfill waste. We plan to make them into coffee cozies. This will cut down on the need for the paper ones you get at coffee shops. It will also cut down on emissions from the machines that make paper into cozies. To get the word out, we will try to have them sold at local coffeeshops and possibly the Zoo.
Adult Advisor: Laura Thomson
Team Members: Jenni Urban, Alex Ruhl, Steph Mandella
Project Category: Zero Waste
Project Outline: The project category that we are entering is Zero Waste with the goals of both starting a phone book recycling campaign in our community and following up with a phone book opt-out campaign. Why opt-out? It helps conserve energy -- companies that print them are burning up 3.2 kilowatt hours of electricity. It saves trees -- companies that print yellow pages had more than 19 million trees destroyed. It saves fuel -- companies that print phone books are wasting 7.2 million barrels of fossil fuel. It saves time -- easier for consumers to find up to date listings online. Good for the environment -- stops unsolicited delivery of 540 million books per year.
Adult Advisor:Jane Majerac
Team Members:Rachelle Mortimer , Rachael Robertson , Sarah Amick
Project Category:Zero Waste
Project Outline:Currently, our school does not recycle anything - not paper, plastic, cans - anything. We'd like to take our high school and turn it green -- not only implementing a big paper recycling project.
Adult Advisor:Christy Neff
Team Members: Kiley DeOrio, Kristen Robinson
Project Category: Saving Energy
Project Outline: We are going to compare other peoples electric bills with the ones from this time of year last year, to the one from the current time. We could also plan a school fesitval or project where we have a recyling contest. Another idea we might have is to make t-shirts and sell them at school or around to people we know. The proceeds that we make will benifit the Polar Bears International.