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ECCOA Challenge 2020: event video, Jean-Michel Cousteau's message, winning projects & bloope


Happy faces of the EECCOA Challenge Virtual Awards Event

MERITO Foundation’s board and staff held the EECCOA 2020 Virtual Challenge and Awards Event on Thursday, May 28, 2020. The event honored the 28 students who despite the many challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had the courage, drive, and discipline to put together proposals to reduce the carbon footprint of their school campuses. The event also acknowledged their teachers, Ms. Erin Mendez from Anacapa Middle School, Ms. Julia Domenech from Buena High School, Ms. Marie Chavis from Jonata Middle School, and Ms. Theresa Lujan from Channel Islands High School, who despite the multiple difficulties of teaching remotely, made a monumental effort to motivate and guide their students this spring.


Highlights of the event were the inspiring words and stunning underwater videos of Ocean Ambassador Jean-Michel Cousteau of Ocean Futures Society, and the very eloquent and heartfelt statements of the student authors of the project proposals.

As Jean-Michel said, youth are the future decision-makers. Support their environmental entrepreneurship and leadership by donating below to help implement their projects.

Unfortunately, we were unable to stream live the Virtual EECCOA Awards event via YouTube from Zoom as planned due to unexpected technical difficulties.

But you do not miss the event, the recording is here, just click below.

All projects proposed by these students considerably reduce the environmental footprint of their school campuses. They also reduce utility costs, are inexpensive to implement or help educate communities about ocean threats such as ocean acidification. Adopt a school project by becoming a Sponsor. Pick a project and donate here.

First Prize Winners

Energy Efficiency

Antonios Fahmy, a student from Anacapa Middle School in Erin Mendez's class, proposed to install Smart Power Strips to save energy from idle computers and accessories. He calculated that installing 220 strips would save 2900kwh and $436 dollars per month. The cost of $6600 would be paid off in 2 years, and it would save the equivalent of 1 and 2/3 of a month of electricity usually used at his school. Donate here to support the implementation of this project.

Water Conservation

The project Water Right developed by Jennifer Ohide from Erin Mendez's class. It aims to reduce water use at Anacapa Middle School by installing 8 50-gallon rain barrels. She calculates this will save up to 2000 gallons of water and save the school $1540 dollars a year if they fill up a few times during the rainy season. Her project would only cost $980, so support Jennifer by investing in her project! Donate here

Waste Reduction

The Waste Busters want to reduce the trash going into the landfill by at least 45kg a week by installing a composting system at Jonata Middle School. Charley, Winifred , Chloe and Mackenzie from Marie Chavis' class proposed a very low cost system to reduce at least 50% of the food scraps produced at their school using worms to enrich the composting process. This group of student environmental entrepreneurs already got a head start with their project before the lockdown. Help them finish implementing their project in the fall by donating below!

Ocean Acidification Outreach

This project was implemented by Jonathan, Brandon, Roxanne, Jacqueline, and Sacil from Channel Islands High School's Marine Science Academy lead by Theresa Lujan. Their objective was to increase the understanding of ocean acidification of their family, friends, and classmates through a 4 week online campaign explaining its effects on fisheries, human society and how to prevent it. The team conducted an online pre and post-campaign survey with 80 participants during the first two months of the COVID-19 shelter in place orders. They found a consistent increase in knowledge and awareness of ocean acidification, including a 59.4% increase in knowledge about this issue.


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