The finalists for the "Find your Footprint" challenge, sponsored by National Geographic and Proctor and Gamble, are poised to receive the public's vote. Elementary children in 21 states have competed to reduce their school's ecological footprint. Six finalists have been chosen, and on March 15th, the polls will close. The school and competing class will win a bevy of prizes, including interactive whiteboards and a one-year subscription to the National Geographic Kids Magazine.
The contest focuses on consumption and technology as means towards environmental sustainability and it's great to see how children are attempting to reduce their ecological impact at school. Each finalist has a video to explain and show what they've accomplished. Some of these videos are obviously more produced than others, so try not to let that influence your vote too much. The quality of the video is less important than how the students have engaged in ways to promote conservation.
Besides voting, the website features a teacher's guide and free downloads which could prove to be great additions to the educator's toolbox, whether it be a small suggestion or potential activity. That alone provides good reason to check out the contest.
Mainly, for me, to see how children, along with educators, work together and engage in environmental education in a practical way is enlightening. I was particularly impressed with the 5th grade class at Lincolnwood, IL. Assuredly, the value is found in sharing the experience of these children, sharing the satisfaction of responsible action. If you go, don't be surprised if the finalists delight and inspire you.
- Jesse Peterson, USEE Intern