Kohala Middle School’s Battery Recycling Project Takes First Place in National Competition

Students to present findings to the Hawaii County Environmental Management Commission; Rep. Mark Nakashima to honor students with congratulatory certificate from the Hawaii State Legislature.

Media Release:

A team of students from Kohala Middle School and their mentor Lani Bowman won first place in the middle school division of the Siemen We Can Change the World Challenge with their battery recycling project. The students were asked to identify an environment issue in their community, research the issue using scientific investigation and create a replicable green solution using web-based curriculum tools powered by Discovery Education. More than 2,800 middle school students across the nation participated in the challenge.

Kohala Middle School students Isabel Steinhoff, Rico Bowman, Genevieve Boyle and Mina Apostadiro, along with their mentor Lani Bowman, set out to collect 6,000 (the approximate population of North Kohala) household batteries in 60 days. They chose to focus on the disposal of household batteries, as there were no local opportunities to recycle them. The team, named “6000 n 60,” reached their goal and will now use their findings to lobby for better household battery recycling opportunities in the United States.

The kids from Kohala Middle School

The Project

The students predicted that if they gave people local opportunities to recycle batteries, provided information on environmental harm and provided tips on how to better use batteries, their community would become more conscientious in their use and disposal of batteries.

Team “6000 n 60” planned and implemented an advanced community awareness and recycling campaign by sharing information through school bulletins, school assemblies, posters, and PSAs.

The project included distributing pre- and post- survey to gauge community awareness on the issue designing a logo, creating t-shirts, and distributing promotional material to raise awarennss and increase participation throughout the community.

They also set out recycling bins in the community, presented their recycling project to local organizations, hosted a community kickoff event, and utilized social media by creating a Facebook page.

Each member of the winning team will receive a first place prize of: $10,000 Savings Bond, a Discovery adventure trip, a pocket video camera, and a Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge green prize pack.

The team’s mentor will receive: a Discovery adventure trip, free registration to the next NSTA National (or Area) Conference, hotel accommodations for three nights at the conference, a pocket video camera, a one-year membership to NSTA, and a Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge green prize pack.

The Lobbying Begins

With the final data analyzed, Team “6000 n 60” will present program highlights and data in a PowerPoint to the Hawaii County Environmental Management Commission. The students and their mentor believe the project findings can help to develop larger and more effective battery recycling efforts for the county, state and even the nation. The meeting will be held on May 25, 2011 at 9 a.m. at the Hilo Liquor Control Conference Room, 2nd Floor, 101 Aupuni Street, Suite 230, Hilo, Hawaii.

Representative Mark Nakashima will also honor Team “6000 n 60” with a congratulatory certificate from the Hawaii State Legislature at the meeting.

“This is a great achievement for Kohala Middle School and our community,” said Rep. Nakashima. “I’m so proud of these students for creating this recycling effort that can be replicated by other communities on our island and in our state.”

“The news that our own Kohala Middle School Team was the national grand prize winner in the Middle School Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge was a fabulous end to our school year,” said Kohala Middle School Principal Janette Snelling. “The project allowed students to engage in a process that extended their learning beyond the four walls of the classroom and provided a venue for students to realize the potential that lies within each one of them. Much appreciation is extended to Ms. Lani Bowman who was a driving force in igniting the passion and extending the vision of the powerful influence that youth can have in truly making a difference. We are so proud of our students!”

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