The event began with the 16 finalist teams presenting to a panel of judges.
On Thursday May 5th, forty-five 7th-12th-grade students from Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) presented their environmental business proposals to a panel of judges. Students chose their 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 took place at the Museum of Ventura County, in downtown Ventura, from 4 -7 pm. The keynote speaker for the event was Chipper Bro, Environmental Advocate, Professional Surfer, and 13-time Frisbee World Champion.
The event began with the 16 finalist teams presenting to a panel of judges who ranked the proposals based on merit and cost effectiveness. First place in the Energy Efficiency category was awarded to the “Electric Warriors” Team from Ventura High School, Ms. Miyata’s class. In the Water Conservation category, top prize went to “Project Motion Sensor” team from Ms. Mendez’s class at Anacapa Middle School. In the Waste Reduction category, the first-place prize went to “Recycling at Buena” team from Mr. Yorke’s class at Buena High School. In the last category, Matilija Dam removal, the top team was “Give a Dam” from Mr. Yorke’s class at Buena High School.
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 participated 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 each year 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.