Awards & contests

Google names winners of annual Google Science Fair

Read the full story at ZDNet.

After whittling down a pool of contestants that numbered in the thousands, Google said it has chosen the winners of its annual Google Science Fair.

Google hosts the science and innovation competition for students between the ages of 13-18, and in recent years upped the ante for winners with cash prices and school rewards…

Additional winners include…

Hayley Todesco, 17-18 age category – This Canadian student won for her project Waste to Water: Biodegrading Naphthenic Acids using Novel Sand Bioreactors.

 

Big Data Climate Challenge winners show how big data can drive climate action

The winners of the Big Data Climate Challenge have been announced as part of the buildup to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit on 23 September at UN Headquarters in New York.

The Big Data Climate Challenge winners include a monitoring system that provides real-time information on forests, and a tool for farmers in Colombia that promotes climate-smart agriculture. The winners will be invited to attend the Climate Summit.

The Big Data Climate Challenge is a global competition hosted by United Nations Global Pulse, an initiative of the Secretary-General on big data. The Challenge was launched in May 2014 to unearth fresh evidence of the economic dimensions of climate change around the world using data and analytics. Submissions were received from 40 countries, representing more than 20 topics from forestry, biodiversity and transportation to renewable energy and green data centers.

Two overall Big Data Climate Challenge winners and seven “Projects to Watch” were selected by a high-level Advisory Board and Technical Committee of global experts in climate science, sustainable development and big data. Submissions were evaluated on their use of big data, economic relevance, stakeholder engagement, originality and scalability. The “Projects to Watch” were chosen to highlight particularly innovative uses of big data in emerging topics and geographic regions.

Big Data Climate Challenge Winners

Projects to Watch

  • Urban services monitoring (UrSMS) by development consultancy Taru in collaboration with Surat Municipal Corporation and Urban Health Climate Resilience Center (UHCRC) in India (project site)
  • Big Earth Observation Data for Climate Change Research by a research team at Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences (project site)
  • Using Big Data and Google Directions to show CO2 Emissions from Transport by researchers at University of Skopje Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering and UNDP Macedonia (project site)
  • Development under Climate Change (DUCC), an application of the Systematic Analysis of Climate Resilient Development (SACRED) framework to quantify economic impacts of climate change in South Africa submitted by United Nations University WIDER in Finland
  • SmartSpaces energy monitoring system in municipal buildings by Bristol City Energy Services in the UK as part of a European initiative implemented in 11 cities (project site)
  • Data and Computational Tools to Build Low-Carbon, Sustainable Energy Systems by a research team at Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab at University of California Berkeley with projects implemented in United States, South America and Asia
  • Megacities Carbon Project by a research team from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Arizona State University, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE), Resources for the Future, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), California Institute of Technology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the California Air Resources Board (project site)

Representatives from the two winning teams will be invited to the UN Climate Summit, where their research will be shared with Heads of State as well as global business leaders and civil society leaders. Both of the Big Data Climate Challenge winners and the “Projects to Watch” will be featured on the UN Climate Summit website.

“Big data helps us more deeply understand how climate change can affect our economies, land, health and issues of inequality—with the ultimate aim of delivering solutions, it can empower individuals, communities and policy-makers to make more informed decisions,” said Tracy Raczek, Senior Policy Advisor on Climate in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. “In the case of the Big Data Climate Challenge Winner on climate-smart agriculture, big data gives farmers valuable information on planting times which can lead to more productive growing seasons; and to the other winner, Global Forest Watch, provides multiple end-users timely data on deforestation. This can inform actions that affect short term deforestation, local economies, and long term changes to our climate.”

The Big Data Climate Challenge was inspired by the UN Climate Summit, which will convene leaders from Governments as well as public and private sectors to catalyze climate action. A new wave of climate action powered by big data and analytics is emerging. The Big Data Climate Challenge brings together these fields of big data and climate change in preparation for the Climate Summit. The Big Data Climate Challenge Winners and “Projects to Watch” demonstrate that scalable, data-driven climate solutions exist globally, and such solutions can inspire leaders from all sectors and all parts of the world to galvanize toward a safer, healthier, more equitable and resilient future.

National Park Service 2014 Environmental Achievement Awards

Read the full post at GreenLine.

NPS recently announced the 2014 recipients of its annual Environmental Achievement Awards, honoring NPS teams and partners that demonstrate exceptional environmental accomplishments in line with Executive Order (EO) 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, and EO 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. This year, two concessioners were recognized for their achievements supporting the NPS goal of the preservation, protection and stewardship of environmental resources.

Registration Opens for Third Annual Campus RainWorks Challenge

Registration opened on September 2, 2014 for EPA’s third annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a green infrastructure design challenge for college and university students. Student teams and faculty advisors are invited to submit design boards, a project narrative, and a letter of support describing a proposed green infrastructure project for a location on their campus. Registration ends October 3, 2014, and registrants must submit their entries by December 19, 2014.

Registration for EPA’s Campus Rainworks Challenge now open

Registration for EPA’s Campus Rainworks Challenge opened September 2, 2014. Student teams, working with a faculty advisor, will submit design boards, a project narrative and a letter of support describing a proposed green infrastructure project for their college campus. Registrants must submit their entries by December 19, 2014. Learn more about the challenge and register at http://go.usa.gov/mGGQ.

NEEFA Algal Bloom Photo Contest

Algal blooms like this one can occur in water bodies as small as a neighborhood pond and as big as the Gulf of Mexico. When algae grow out of control in our waters, the result can be unappealing, harmful to our health and harmful to the environment.

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) want YOU to help spot and document algal blooms in our waters. Submit your photos of algal blooms where you live, vacation and recreate for a chance to win great prizes. Your submissions will help build a photo library that can be used to educate more people about algal blooms and illustrate the prevalence and impacts of algal blooms around the country.

Prizes

 

  • First Place: Nikon D5300 SLR Camera and winning algal bloom photo featured on the NALMS Lakeline Magazine Cover
  • Second Place: Nikon Coolpix AW120 Camera
  • Third Place: $100 REI Gift Card

Visit the contest web site for more information and to enter. The deadline is September 30, 2014.

 

White House Council on Environmental Quality and EPA Honor Student Leaders and Exceptional Teachers with Environmental Education Awards

Today, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, announced the winners of the annual Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) and President’s Environmental Youth Award, (PEYA) recognizing outstanding student leaders in environmental stewardship and K-12 teachers employing innovative approaches to environmental education in their schools. In a ceremony at the White House, 17 teachers and 60 students from across the nation are being honored for their contributions to environmental education and stewardship.

“These awards recognize the outstanding contributions of student leaders and exceptional teachers on some of the most pressing issues facing our nation, including combating climate change and instituting sustainability practices,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Environmental education encourages academic achievement, especially in the sciences, and develops the next generation of leaders in environmental stewardship.”‎

This year, students are receiving awards for projects including activities such as creating a novel water purification method, assessing apples as a sustainable fuel source, and reducing the carbon footprint of a school to help combat climate change.  Teachers being honored this year have employed interactive, hands-on learning projects such as opening a marine science station, designing a solar powered garden irrigation system, building a nature trail, and connecting students to their natural surroundings through field studies. These students and teachers creatively utilize their local ecosystems, environment, community and culture as a context for learning.

“To deal with immense challenges like climate change, we need a generation of leaders who don’t back away from complex environmental problems, and who have the skills to solve them,” said Mike Boots, Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “Across the country, environmental education is helping develop that generation of leaders, and the students and teachers being recognized today are remarkable examples of this kind of education at its best.”

The PIAEE and PEYA awardees demonstrate the creativity, innovation, leadership and passion for community engagement needed to face difficult environmental challenges. Teachers and students attending the ceremony will also be participating in a workshop led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to discuss climate and best practices in the field of climate education.

And today, NOAA, the US Global Change Research Program, and collaborators from both the National Climate Assessment network of stakeholders (NCAnet) and the CLEAN Network are releasing a series of guides for educators focused on each of the regions covered in the U.S. National Climate Assessment released by the Obama Administration in May 2014. The guides, which are being deployed on climate.gov, aim to help unpack regional findings and scientific messages, provide links to key resources, and connect educators with the climate-relevant information they need.

Additionally, the National Environmental Education Foundation and EPA announced the winner of the 2014 Bartlett Award. This additional recognition is given each year to an exceptionally outstanding PIAEE award winner, who can serve as an inspiration and model to others.

PEYA winners ‎include students from 9 states, including Washington, Iowa, Oklahoma, North Carolina and New Hampshire. PIAEE winners and honorable mentions include teachers from 23 states and territories, including Vermont, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Guam and Puerto Rico.