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November 28, 2007

The Country’s Top Student Eco-Ambassadors Selected To Attend The Weather Channel Forecast Earth Summit

Participants Recognized for Environmental Efforts and Will Make their Voices Heard

ATLANTA, Ga. (November 28, 2007) -  Today The Weather Channel announced the group of 22 high school "eco-ambassadors" selected through a nationwide essay contest to showcase their passion for helping the environment.  The 22 winning students, representing 14 states, will participate in the upcoming Forecast Earth Summit December 7 - 9, 2007, in Washington, D.C.  Created by The Weather Channel, the Forecast Earth Summit will focus on environmental education and provide interaction with numerous environmental leaders, enthusiasts and scientists, including Dr. Heidi Cullen, climate expert at The Weather Channel.

The Forecast Earth Summit essay contest was open to high school freshman, sophomore and junior students. Ensuring the students most committed to environmental concerns would be selected, the entry submission requirements included a 200-word essay explaining why the environment is their passion and what personal efforts they have employed to make the planet "clean and green." 

The Weather Channel is providing teens with a much-needed outlet for concerns about the environment as well as a resource for solutions. "The Weather Channel has been covering climate change for 25 years.  We're eager to share our insights and information with these incredible students and to listen to what they have to say," said Lynn Brindell, senior vice president of marketing for The Weather Channel.  "We look forward to this select group of eco-ambassadors taking what they learn at the Summit and applying it to their own local environmental activities."

In addition to a full schedule of speakers, discussions and hands-on activities, participating students at the Forecast Earth Summit will work together to create a boat made entirely of recycled materials including more than 200 two-liter bottles, recycled wood products such as chairs and broomsticks, and braided plastic bags.  The project will be supervised by Dr. Marcus Eriksen, director of education and research for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and host of "Commando Weather" on The Weather Channel.  Together with the students, Dr. Eriksen will launch the eco-canoe in to the Potomac River as an example of eco-ingenuity and teamwork.

The students will also create a public service announcement (PSA) that will air on The Weather Channel network, online at weather.com and in selected local television markets.

About The Forecast Earth Summit Eco-Ambassadors:

ALABAMA Joshua Caleb Morrison of Anniston, Ala., creates community environmental support through the 75-member organization GEEKS (Gaming Environmentally Educated Kids) in the Woods, an organization and Web site he helped found and establish.

CALIFORNIA Victoria H. Tam of Los Angeles, Calif., serves as a youth manager for Tree Musketeers and works to empower young people to be leaders of environmental and social change.

Aiman Arif of Freemont, Calif., helped organize and lead a rainforest fundraiser for her school, which resulted in saving 10 acres of land.

CONNECTICUT Jaimee Leigh Topkin of New London, Conn., leads the New London Greenway Project, which provides education on fertilizers and lawn products. While in middle school, she was president of SOAP (Students Organized Against Pollution) and raised funds by making and selling canvas bags.

FLORIDA Trevor Will van Voorthuijsen of Lecanto, Fla., is on a lifelong ecological quest including his most recent project of exploring the effect "nature-deficit disorder" may have on the future environment. His environmental experiences include teaching crabbers how to differentiate between male and female crabs, collecting and cataloging dragonflies, volunteering at the local state preserve and witnessing an octopus giving birth. 

KENTUCKY Emily Lauren Goldstein of Louisville, Ky., founded a fundraising recycling program to benefit the Louisville Zoo and distributes cards from the Monterey Bay Aquarium on safe seafood to eat to local restaurants. She has also studied polar bears in the wild and gives community presentations on global climate change in the Arctic.

MICHIGAN Abigail Owens Cook of Owosso, Mich., loves to enjoy nature through backpacking and canoeing. She acts as a voice for conservation in her community through her local Youth Advisory Council and Model United Nations.

NEW JERSEY Charles S. Ferrer of Bergenfield, N.J., is an avid weather fan. His accomplishments include attending weather conferences, providing storm reports to the local newspaper and being certified with the National Weather Service as an Advance SKYWARN spotter.

NEW YORK Zak Sawyer of New York, N.Y., created a Web site and newsletter called weeklyplanet.org, which provides tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint.  He has been a guest speaker at a local environmental rally and was a program participant to protect Caribbean marine reserves.

Sujay Tyle of Pittsford, N.Y., is exploring ways to produce a cost effective clean burning bioethanol fuel. His research, conducted through the University of Rochester, focuses on using a common bacterium to produce ethanol.

Katherine Lee Bailey of Rochester, N.Y., participates in coastal clean up efforts and ecological fundraisers.  As founder and president of her school's environmental club, she aspires to turn her school's roof into a green roof.  

Madeline Verna Yozwiak of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., researches solar energy and, with the support of her class, is working to build a solar thermal technology system on her school's roof.

NORTH CAROLINA Ian Luke Bryan of Greenville, N.C., is passionate about preserving oceans and waterways. He participates with his school's Sierra Club chapter and river clean ups. This Eagle Scout has also taken Advanced Placement environmental science at his school.

Norman Kendall Bent of Mooresville, N.C., monitors his own carbon footprint and developed a more efficient electronic communication system at The Logan Community Music School where he works to conserve paper. Additionally, Norman ensures the lights at the school are manually dimmed when there is enough sunlight and monitors the computer lab's energy use so that he can power down any computers idle for more than 15 minutes.

OHIO Kaylyn Sweeney Bopp of West Chester, Ohio, founded and leads her school's recycling program, which includes donating unused school supplies to a local outreach shelter.  She writes to her local state representatives on environmental issues and is a member of the Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation Association.

PENNSYLVANIA Hayden Wallace Dahmm of Springfield, Pa., has researched and created a homemade solar cell and a homemade wind turbine. His current environmental experiment focuses on calculating his household's carbon footprint.

RHODE ISLAND Nicole Testa of Coventry, R.I., serves as president of her school's Envirothon club, which promotes environmental understanding and action.

TEXAS Daniel Martinez of El Paso, Texas, encourages conservation through serving on his school's student council, which includes encouraging teachers to participate in black out days and turn off overhead lights to reduce energy consumption.

Katie Rose Pipkin of Austin, Texas, volunteers with multiple environmental organizations and has adopted fuel efficient transportation and the purchase of carbon credits to offset traveling costs.  She teaches about native wildflower seeds at the local farmers' market to support diversity restoration in her community.

VIRGINIA Monica Quincy "MQ" Bernstein of Arlington, Va., encourages others to pursue stewardship throughout their lives as she focuses on concerns around conservation and deforestation. She has developed a biodiversity presentation in both English and Spanish to inform young people about available environmental resources.

Lee Michael Picard of Lorton, Va., serves on the board of his school's Chesapeake Bay and Environmental Impact Clubs while lobbying politicians to adopt environment-friendly policies.

Eastin Reed Johnson of Virginia Beach, Va., creates environmental artwork and serves as co-chairman of the Neptune Festival student art show where he reduced paper use for registration by 33 percent.


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