02/22/2013—This spring, our nation’s youth will prove that going green starts with education when Lexus awards a total of $500,000 to the winners of this year’s Lexus Eco Challenge.

This nationwide scholarship contest encourages middle and high school students to make a difference in environmental health and stability. Student teams from around the country create ways to address environmental issues through awareness, education, and fundraisers in their communities. Once they’ve defined the environmental issue they want to address, the teams develop and implement an action plan.

This year, the Lexus Eco Challenge consists of two contest categories, Land & Water and Air & Climate, with the top 16 teams receiving a $10,000 scholarship and a chance to compete in a Final Challenge. The Final Challenge, which addresses global eco concerns, will award eight winning teams with a $15,000 scholarship, and two Grand Prize winners will receive a $30,000 scholarship. All scholarships are split between the teacher, students, and school.

“The commitment and devotion shown by the students though their projects is remarkable,” Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager Mark Templin says. “We’re thrilled at Lexus that we can continue to support the program and encourage young students to take action to better the environment.”

Some of the students’ projects are remarkably innovative. One middle school team from All Saints Regional Catholic School in New Jersey used hybrid electricity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by implementing a small, but revolutionary, twelve-blade wind turbine.

The Lexus Eco Challenge is part of The Lexus Pursuit of Potential, a philanthropic charity primarily concerned with the nation’s youth. Lexus empowers these students to grow in their understanding of how to protect our world and create a more environmentally sustainable life.