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Walnut Elementary finalist in greenest school contest

POSTED March 23, 2010 11:23 p.m.
Winter wind energy, summer solar energy and a school compost station are just some of the green initiatives that Walnut Elementary School students demonstrated in their video for the nation-wide competition for America’s Greenest School.
The competition is a demonstration of what schools have done to create a green school and develop a “more eco-friendly place,” according to the contest’s Web site. Their reward for saving the environment one school at a time is an IC Bus Hybrid Bus, along with some scholarship money.  
Students in Denise Loomis’s sixth grade class put together a go green video that has placed them in the top 10 finalist list. The public now has the opportunity to vote for the winner. As of Tuesday, Loomis’ class was in third place with 8,653 votes.
“Our focus is on how we can change the environment by going green,” Loomis said.  
All 31 students in her sixth grade class worked on putting their two minute video together which spotlights their school garden, compost station, winter wind energy and summer solar energy programs. Walnut students also talk about how important the Hybrid school bus is to the environment.
“Being green is the only way to ensure a clean future for our world. Pollution, destruction of habitats, loss of renewable resources, encroachments upon farm land, less palatable drinking water, mass additions of man-made processed foods have become the way of the world,” Walnut Elementary students answered for why they are ‘greenius.’
The competition started in January, the top 10 finalists announced March 21. The IC Bus judges picked the top 10 finalists and the rest is up to the people who vote for their favorite video.
The voting period started March 22 and ends April 2. The voting process allows one vote per person per day. As of Tuesday, Walnut Elementary was trailing Plummer Motz School in Maine and Stivers School for the Arts in Ohio.
The winner will be announced the week of April 21 and  will receive the Hybrid bus valued at $150,000, a school audit by LEED Accredited professionals, a green makeover valued at $20,000, a free concert by The Maine, $3,000 in scholarship money for the winning classroom and $500 in class supplies for the teacher.
If Walnut Elementary does win the competition, the Hybrid bus will be a Turlock Unified School District bus for everyone to use, said Robin Swartz, Walnut Elementary assistant principal.
“It will be a district-wide gift,” Swartz said. “This is for the district.”
To vote for Walnut Elementary School’s video daily until April 2, visit the Web site www.americasgreenestschool.com and click on the meet the finalists tab.
According to Walnut students: “If we value the gifts that this planet has to offer and value preserving the balance between nature and man, our only options are to change our way of thinking and doing: Go Green!”
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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