Bedford 2030 is launching its sixth annual Greenlight Awards. The Greenlight Award program is for high school students, who pitch a “Big Green Idea” to address climate change in their communities. Students can either propose advocacy projects, focusing on things like education and community outreach, or they can propose innovation projects, focusing on inventing products, systems, or apps that will solve an environmental problem.

The program is split into phases. During the Getting Started phase, in October, students can watch a kickoff presentation, sign up to receive a toolkit with materials and details to get them started, and attend a virtual incubator session where experts and professionals will help them workshop their ideas.

The Proposal phase will take place in November and December. During this phase, students will officially submit an idea by Nov. 1. From there, they will develop their proposal and submit an official proposal form by the end of November. On Dec. 5, students will pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges.

In December and January, during the Greenlighting phase, students will receive feedback on their pitches, apply for funding, and decide if they want to move forward with implementing their project.

The next phase, Implementing and Assessing, stretches from January to April 2021. Students will attend a second incubator session with experts who will help them work through the implementation of their idea. Students will actually develop and carry out the projects they proposed back in December.

At the Final Event in May, students will present their products/outcomes and their findings to a panel of judges. Cash prizes are awarded in both the advocacy and innovation categories.

Last year, 40 students from six different area high schools competed in the program. While Bedford 2030 would like to focus on local students, the program is open to any high schoolers.

Last year's first prize advocacy project was called “True Bamboo,” by Zoe Gellert of Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua. Her project brought a composting program to two local schools and educated students about composting and using plastic alternatives, such as bamboo.

Last year’s first prize innovation project was called “Flue Energy Harvesting,” by Anika Puri, also of Horace Greeley. She created a device that improved the efficiency of home water heaters by using heat from an oil furnace flue to warm the water that enters the boiler through heat transfer.

First prize awards are $500, and students can also apply for funding during the program to develop their projects. Students who are interested should visit the bedford2030.org/greenlight website to sign up and receive the Greenlight Toolkit. “Everything will be virtual this year, but we have a few ideas to hopefully make it more interesting than lots of Zoom sessions,” said Erin Glocke, community engagement manager of Bedford 2030.

Those interested can also contact Gayle Reichler at greenlightaward@gmail.com for further information. 

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