Students Around the World make an Impact on Earth Day

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National Society of High School Scholars Foundation and Captain Planet Foundation Select 10 Students as Winners of Fourth Annual Earth Day Competition

“We are very proud to recognize these 10 outstanding students for their dedication to protecting and preserving the environment,” said Claes Nobel, founder of NSHSS Foundation and senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes.

The National Society of High School Scholars Foundation (NSHSS Foundation) and the Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) today announced the winners of their 4th annual Earth Day competition. Of the 658 applicants, 10 winners were chosen to receive a $500 award to implement their Earth Day project or use towards education-related expenses. The international Earth Day competition award applicants submitted projects that demonstrate environmental stewardship, leadership and volunteerism.

The 2016 Earth Day Award Winners are:

Alexander Adler
The Oakwood School, Greenville, North Carolina
Adler is the founder and director of Chickens for Children, a nonprofit which “aims to promote and teach environmental awareness, a sense of responsibility, and sustainable living to young children and the community.”

Efe Birkan
Cakabey High School, Izmir, Turkey
Birkan studied the subsurface water in his school’s garden, and learned that the overconsumption of water in reforestation efforts was contributing to freshwater pollution. He gave presentations to his school and local government to inform the public about specific plants that can be used for reforestation.

Joyce Cheng
James Madison High School, Vienna, Virginia
Cheng cofounded her high school’s Environmental Club as a sophomore. The Environmental Club has participated in projects such as Ban the Bottle, Wheels to Africa, and Trout in the Classroom.

Sophia Maggio
Everett High School, Everett, Washington
Maggio is an undergraduate researcher at the Ocean Research College Academy. She attended several research cruises, and she has concluded that plankton and eelgrass may be used in bioremediation as methods to remove toxic heavy metal ions from water.

Taylor Meyer
Stratford High School, Houston, Texas
Meyer organized a group of classmates from her Academy of Science and Engineering class who worked together to build 200 solar-powered, portable lanterns to send to an underserved village in Nuevo Cañete, Peru.

Katherine Prior
Row Academy, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Since 2013, Prior has monitored the water quality of a local creek and reported the results to the Oklahoma Conservation Commission. She has also presented the Enviroscape watershed model to other students to encourage the proper use of storm drains.

Anuj Sisodiya
Trumbull High School, Trumbull, Connecticut
Sisodiya created “Light It, But Time It,” a community-based, energy-saving project. During holiday seasons, he suggested that each household use a timer when using their festive, electronic décor. He also implemented “Energy Savings and Awareness Week” (E-SAW) in his high school.

Anne Trapp
Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, Massachusetts
A drought in her hometown of Townsend, Montana, led Trapp to apply for a Global Citizenship and Sustainability Grant. She received a $1,400 grant to develop three water-conserving gardens and a program to increase awareness about drought-tolerant landscaping.

Terrence Walker
American International School Mozambique, Mozambique, Africa
Walker spearheaded a fundraiser, gathered lab equipment from a local university, and trained biology interns on how to process blood samples in an effort to study and reduce diseases in the lion population of Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, Africa.

Ana Zabala
Coleigo Rochester, Bogota, Colombia
Zabala created a booklet to promote a rainbow diet in order to implement Slow Food’s “Good, Clean, and Fair Food” campaign in daily diets. She hosted an Eat-In, in which each attendee prepares a nutritious meal from scratch, and organized a student field trip to a local organic farm. Ana has received awards from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

“We are very proud to recognize these 10 outstanding students for their dedication to protecting and preserving the environment,” said Claes Nobel, founder of the NSHSS Foundation and senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes. “These students exhibit tremendous initiative to create impactful projects that will spark positive environmental change in their communities around the world.”

To be considered for the Earth Day Award, high school students from around the world with a GPA of 3.0 or higher submitted details about an environmental project they are spearheading, or a project that will be initiated around Earth Day in their home, school and/or community. Additional details on award submission requirements can be found online.

“This year’s winners are an inspiration to us all,” said Laura Turner Seydel, chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation. “We are honored to award these young scholars for their engagement in their local communities and efforts to improve the environment.”

The NSHSS Foundation and CPF joined forces in 2013 with the shared commitment of encouraging high school students around the globe to demonstrate their dedication to the Earth through action, highlighting those who are humanitarians, leaders and creators. Through their partnership, the organizations hope to increase awareness of Earth Day and CPF’s work supporting environmental leadership of high-achieving high school students and educators. In the past four years, a total of 47 Earth Day grants of $500 each have been awarded to winners who are actively demonstrating a commitment to care for the Earth.

About the National Society of High School Scholars Foundation (NSHSS Foundation):
The NSHSS Foundation was founded in 2004 by Claes Nobel, senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes. The NSHSS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity dedicated to supporting education in the form of scholarships for under-represented students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), business, economics, public policy, and environmental science and sustainability fields. Through special programs, the NSHSS Foundation connects young scholars with additional opportunities to advance their education, personal growth and career interests. The Foundation recognizes the need to produce more graduates in these fields in order to meet the demands of an ever-changing global economy and society to create a better future for all. For more information visit

About Captain Planet Foundation (CPF):
Based on the critically-acclaimed animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers, CPF was co-founded in 1991 by media mogul Ted Turner and producer Barbara Pyle. Since then, the Captain Planet Foundation has played a critical role in helping to ensure that the next generation of business leaders and policy makers are environmentally literate citizens who leverage technology and information to manage and protect the air, land and water upon which all life depends.

CPF is a grant-making foundation that has funded over 2,000 hands-on environmental education projects with schools and non-profits that serve children in all 50 U.S. states and in 25 countries internationally. More than 1.2 million children have directly participated in and benefited from these educational projects. In addition to its Small Grants Program, the Captain Planet Foundation also operates the following programs: Project Learning Garden, Project Hero, the Leadership Center, SAGES, and a number of other science education initiatives that promote the intersections between technology, innovation, the environment and personal action.

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Amy Adams
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