Youth present their solutions to our changing climate during EECCOA Virtual Challenge 2021

On April 30, twenty 6-12 grade students from five public schools in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties competed during MERITO Foundation’s EECCOA Virtual Challenge 2021 with their authored environmental business proposals focused on water conservation, energy efficiency, or waste reduction for their homes, or to educate a community about ocean acidification. 83 students of the 650 participants in the 9 month-long climate, energy and ocean science EECCOA Program entered The EECCOA Challenge. Only 20 made it to the finals and will be receiving cash and in kind prizes including a trip to the Channel Islands this month. In addition four home projects were selected to be sponsored implementation.

During the previous 9 months, students learned from the MERITO science curriculum and about climate change and its impacts including ocean acidification, drought and wildfires taught by their teachers. Then were provided the tools to address these issues by designing money-saving green business proposals for their homes or schools. The EECCOA Program and Challenge are in its 6th year, and the main sponsors and partners of the EECCOA Program and Challenge 2021 are NOAA B-WET Grant, Ventura Water, Clean Power Alliance, and the City of Ventura’s Environmental Sustainability. The event was live streamed and can be seen at

The team winners of the 1st prize for water conservation are Kaleb Williams, Aaron Figueroa, and Brayden Mlodzik from Jonata Middle School in Buellton.

The winner of 1st prize for the energy efficiency tier is Yaretzi Martinez from RK Frank Elementary in Oxnard.

Lilac Reyes, of Mesa Union School District in Somis is the 1st prize winner in the waste reduction tier.

The 1st prizewinner of the ocean acidification awareness tier is Alyssa Wright, from Anacapa Middle School in Ventura. Alyssa’s goal for increasing awareness of the dangers of ocean acidification was to educate a group of adults and students through videos and articles on ocean acidification. She surveyed the group before and after then noticed that there was an increase of awareness over the issues on ocean acidification.

The Multicultural Education for Resource Issues Threatening Oceans, DBA as MERITO Foundation is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization based in Ventura, CA, dedicated to protecting the ocean by facilitating education, conservation, and scientific research opportunities to

multicultural youth and their communities.   Donations will contribute to the implementation of students’ project proposals because we believe they want to be part of the solution. Contribution can be made at

Next school year the EECCOA program will be a partnership of the MERITO Foundation with Ventura Unified School District and other organizations. For more details contact

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