Ten Cate School students won $3,000 in the Lexus Environmental Challenge last month. It was the second time the school’s Climate Society has won the award.

The group’s objective was to reduce carbon emissions in its members’ local community to set an example for the larger population. To complete the challenge, the students focused on raising awareness on the Cate campus, 1960 Cate Mesa Road in Carpinteria. This included researching methods for energy efficiency, collecting information about campus energy issues, creating and placing posters in dorms, giving tips about ways to reduce carbon emissions, and encouraging the exchange of incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents.

In addition, team members monitored energy usage within student dorms and presented the data to the student body. After educating the school about how to reduce carbon emissions, the team found that the amount of energy used per dorm had decreased by a significant amount.

Members of the Climate Society are seniors Samantha Ryu and Julien Vollring; juniors Nick Brown,  Dana Edwards, Gabriela Hempfling, Maddie Johnston, Priscilla Wilson, Michael Yoon and Cascade Zak; and sophmore Allegra Roth. Cheryl Powers is the group’s faculty adviser.

As one of 55 winning teams in the earlier stages of the Lexus Environmental Challenge, Cate has qualified to enter the contest’s Final Challenge for a chance to win part of $850,000 in grants and scholarships.

The four initial Challenges, addressing land, air, water and climate, asked teams to take a stand for the environment in their local community. The Final Challenge requires teams to reach beyond the local community and inspire environmental action around the world through innovative ideas that the team must communicate to a wide audience.

Two grand-prize winning teams will each receive $75,000 in grants and scholarships, and 14 first-prize winning teams will receive $50,000 each. The winners will be announced in April in conjunction with Earth Day.

Don Orth is Cate School‘s communications director.