On Thursday May 5th, approximately forty 7th-12th-grade students from Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) will be presenting their environmental business proposals to a panel of judges. Students had the option of choosing a project from 4 categories: water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction at their school campuses, or to inform their communities about the benefits of removing the relic Matilija Dam from the Ventura River. The event will take place at the Museum of Ventura County, in downtown Ventura, from 4 -7 pm. The keynote speaker for the event is Chipper Bro, Entrepreneur, Environmental Advocate, and professional Surfer.
The event will begin with the 50 finalist teams presenting to a panel of judges who will rank the proposals based on merit and cost effectiveness. After presentations, the Ventura Unified School District will award cash or in-kind prizes to the young authors with the top environmental business proposals in each category. The EECCOA Challenge Awards Ceremony is the culmination of the 9 month-long Ventura Action Network (V-RAN) Program administered by VUSD in partnership with the MERITO Foundation. The following schools are participating in the 2021-2022 V-RAN program: Buena High School, Anacapa Middle School, Ventura High School, Foothill High School; Balboa Middle School, Cabrillo Middle School; and Sunset K-8.
In addition to the EECCOA Challenge, the Ventura Action Network (V-RAN) Program provides professional development field training, webinars, science curriculum and stipends to science teachers, as well as, environmental monitoring experiences for their 600-750 middle and high school students at Ventura River watershed and the coast.
The 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.
The EECCOA Challenge empowers students to be environmental entrepreneurs by providing them with the tools to understand climate change, ocean acidification, drought and wildfires and address these issues with money saving project proposals for their school campuses. Students are also given the option to develop awareness campaigns that inform and involve their communities.