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Health and Environmental Effects Research

WED Earth Day Event Engages Students in Sustainable Design Challenge

NHEERL’s Western Ecology Division (WED) in Corvallis, OR, held an Earth Day event this year that challenged local middle school students to “upcycle,” or use salvaged or recycled materials to create something new. To plan such a relevant event, the WED Earth Day team met with teachers and researched State teaching standards relating to sustainability, problem solving, and renewable and nonrenewable resources. Announcements about the contest were made available in both English and Spanish to include as many students as possible.

Twelve semifinalists, along with their parents and teachers, were invited to an Earth Day reception at WED on April 19, 2012. At the reception, a team of judges that included Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning, artist Zel Brook, and WED Director Thomas D. Fontaine selected the top three projects, based on content, artistic merit, technical complexity, and environmental relevance. In the spirit of the contest, the three winners received special trophies created from recycled materials by WED Ecological Effects Branch scientist Bill Rugh, and they also will be featured in an upcoming post on EPA’s public blog, “It’s Your Environment.”

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