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Youth sustainablity challenge seeks candidates

Maui students who want to help their schools or communities go green now have a chance to earn funding to back their big ideas. Conservation and education nonprofit Kupu, in partnership with Kokua Hawai’i Foundation, is launching its fourth annual Hawai’i Youth Sustainability Challenge project-grant program, which supports student-led environmental initiatives for keiki in grades 6-12.

Applications are open and due Oct. 19. Students in grades 6-12 from public, private and charter schools statewide are encouraged to apply.

“We are so excited to host another Hawai’i Youth Sustainability Challenge,” says Kupu CEO John Leong. “Not only is this a great experience for Hawaii’s next generation of eco-preneurs and eco-engineers, but it’s also a win for the community at large. We have seen so many students generate innovative and effective projects that address pressing environmental issues. We can’t wait to see what our future leaders come up with this year.”

This past year, Maui Huliau hosted sunscreen education stations, where students gave out reef-safe sunscreen and information relating to the harmful effects of most sunscreens. A major component of their project was educating people on how chemicals like oxybenzone, octinoxate and many more within sunscreen are harmful to the well-being of people’s bodies and our reefs.

Individual projects will be awarded up to $1,000 based on scope and need. Project proposals can be submitted individually, in groups, or involve a collaboration between two or more schools.

Each team must include one teacher adviser and will also be paired with an outside mentor to support project development.

Grant recipients will be selected in late fall, and projects will commence in January.

For more information on Hawai’i Youth Sustainability Challenge, visit kupuhawaii.org/hysc/.