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Students Create Climate Change Solutions

Written by Dwight Bachman

 Willimantic, CT - On April 26, judges will examine the work of more than 200 students who are making big changes in 14 towns across Connecticut.  The annual Keep Connecticut Cool Challenge, a contest for students in grades 4 to12 involving teams creating climate change solutions for their towns and communities, takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford. The program has been administered by Eastern Connecticut State University's Institute for Sustainable Energy

 (ISE) since 2007.

This year, 19 teams submitted plans for judging.  Students represent the towns of Avon, Coventry, Danbury, East Hartford, Hartford, Lebanon, New Haven, New London, Northford, North Stonington, South Windsor, Storrs, Trumbull and Westport.  Prizes of $1,000 to $3,000 and totaling $10,000 will be awarded for teamwork, collaboration and best plans. Teams can use their prize money to further their projects.

Projects include recycling and energy efficiency actions in schools such as energy audits, thermostats and sensors, light replacements and energy saving behaviors. Others include replacing Styrofoam trays in lunchrooms, raising climate awareness with student and community TV messages, family forums, film festivals, energy fairs, and music events. Projects to purchase rainforest land and carbon sequestration, and support local farms and purchase solar and wind installations will also be presented.  Many teams have presented proposals to their board of education and town councils.

Keep Connecticut Cool was started in 2006 as the Cool It Challenge, hosted by Clean Air-Cool Planet and funded by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. The program changed names to Keep Connecticut Cool in 2008 and is now funded by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund. To date, 78 teams, involving more than 800 students, have worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their schools and communities.

Eastern's Institute for Sustainable Energy was established in 2001 to identify, develop and implement the means for achieving a sustainable energy future. The institute focuses on matters relating to energy education, energy policy, efficiency conservation and load management, renewable energy, distributed generation, protection of environmental resources, and the dissemination of useful information on energy alternatives and sustainability to users and providers of energy. The institute adds an unbiased focus on practical applications and dissemination of information about how to improve the energy profile and sustainability of Connecticut and the region.    

For more information about the Keep Connecticut Cool Challenge, visit


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