Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wildcats show off eco-inventions


An undeniable theme of green washed over the Washington Elementary School cafeteria Wednesday morning as hundreds of students proudly displayed their homemade environmental inventions.
Officially titled the Great Community Eco-Invention Competition, but shortened to simply “Eco Fair” on posters painted and hung by students outside, the event served as the culmination of several weeks of classroom discussions on protecting the environment.

Created using recyclable material, the prototypes displayed on cafeteria tables bordered on the whimsical: a trash collector disguised as a stylish purse; the outlandish: a set of three-eyed binoculars to spot people who are not recycling; and the innovative: a bird hotel constructed out of plastic bottles and cardboard.
Second-grader Henry Hepp’s rain collector, designed from common household items including an old lampshade and unbleached coffee filters, took first prize. Abby Austin, a fourth-grader, snapped up second place with her drying rack for plastic bottles, supplemented with a cleaning kit to prep the used bottles for reuse.
Santa Barbara City Councilmembers Das Williams and Roger Horton, along with Horton’s intern Jesse Reyes, principal Damien Barnett and the general manager of Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort, Dean Feldmeier, judged the entries from about 185 students from the second, third and fourth grade classes.
“I like the stylish garbage collection purse,” Williams said. “Some girls … could do a lot worse.”
Designed by second-grader Meghan McTague, the handy trash receptacle took honorable mention, causing her to exclaim, “Someone pinch me, I’m dreaming.”
Daniel Murphy, also a second-grader, received honorable mention for an air filter so complex it took him several minutes to explain how it works. Its elaborate inner workings involved liquefication, cooling gases and solar power, prompting the judges to remark that he appears to be well on his way to a degree in engineering.
“You know how long I stayed up working on this?” Murphy, 8, asked. “Until 8:51 at night.”
The top two projects will be sent to Los Angeles for national judging along with winners from about 150 other similar “Eco Fairs” held by Doubletree Hotels. The top three students from that competition will receive an all-expense paid trip to Seattle to display their inventions at the premier of Exploring Trees Inside and Out Environmental Education Exhibit at the Pacific Science Center in February.

No comments: