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May 2, 2012 8:19 PM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News

Montana school wins national energy competition

CARTER COUNTY - A Montana school has won a national award after committing months of research and hard work to an energy efficiency competition.

3rd through 8th graders in Carter County received the first-ever "America's Home Energy Education Challenge" award.

The national competition launched by the U.S. Energy Department last year hoping to spark creativity and critical thinking among our nation's students, while inspiring families to cut back on energy consumption.

120,000 kids participated nationwide, but it was the 59 students in the southeastern corner of Montana who really stood out.

"It was a weighted thing of how much energy they saved, the amount of community involvement, evidence of ingenuity, and also evidence that they actually engaged their families and others," explained U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "In the end, I think this collection of schools in Montana were the ones who showed the most enthusiasm, creativity and all these things, as well as energy saving."

The five month challenge began in August 2011.

"Through simple, everyday activities, many students used less electricity. Some just made sure the lights were turned off, some changed to CFL light bulbs, they unplugged appliances," said SE Electric Cooperative representative, Marlene Waterland. "Their final step was to compose a narrative explaining how they saved or why they didn't save. All in all, our students and teachers worked really hard and they're ready for the next energy challenge!"

The Carter County schools will receive $15,000 for winning the competition.

The competition was judged by teachers with the National Science Teachers Association.

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