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Last Friday was the 41st anniversary of Earth Day in the United States. EcoCAR teams decided to celebrate by giving back to their local communities and celebrating a greener Earth throughout the week. Teams held ride and drives, participated in environmentally friendly events, and promoted the EcoCAR competition in their communities.

EcoCAR teams took the opportunity to work with local Clean Cities Coalitions to promote Earth Day as well! Georgia Tech’s EcoCAR team partnered with Clean Cities Atlanta to participate in the 14th Annual Earth Day Celebration at Georgia Tech’s campus, which was chosen to host the team’s consumer campaign. More than 3,000 people attended the Earth Day Celebration at GT, making it as one of the largest Earth Day events in the southeastern United States!

Rose-Hulman celebrated Earth Day by taking part in an Earth Day celebration at their neighbor school, Indiana State University. The team also collaborated with the Greater Indiana Clean Cities at Earth Day Indiana, which hosted more than 140 environmental exhibits from across Indiana.

UW Faculty Advisor Glenn Bower and team members talk to attendees at the their Earth Day event

The University of Wisconsin participated in the Rockwell Automation Earth Day Event with the local Wisconsin Clean Cities Coalition. The team handed out tire pressure gauges to attendees and even displayed their EcoCAR during a ‘Green Technology’ portion of the event.

The University of Victoria team showcased their vehicle at a local library’s green technologies event. Team members had the chance to talk to local youth about environmental sustainability and how the EcoCAR competition is helping the environment.

State Rep. Scott Conklin and State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham visit PSU EcoCAR Garage for a Ride and Drive

Penn State’s EcoCAR team celebrated Earth Day by welcoming State Representative Scott Conklin to their garage for a ride and drive. The team also took part in a campus-wide Earth Day celebration, in which they took that opportunity to publicly launch their new iPhone application, PSU EcoCAR, an education app which allows iPhone users to interact with the team while on the go!

The Virginia Tech EcoCAR team kicked off Earth Week by displaying their vehicle on the National Mall for EPA’s Earth Day. You can check out their Green Garage Blog post to learn more about their event!

Michigan Tech cleaning debris alongside their garage facilities

Other teams, like Michigan Tech, decided to get their hands dirty by picking up trash and debris in ditches alongside their garage facilities. Despite the snowy conditions for late-April, the team enjoyed cleaning up the community and allowed for some team bonding!

EcoCAR teams are constantly giving back by working on and creating the next generation of clean automobiles that reduce environmental impact. Although Earth Day is only one day a year, EcoCAR challenges the world to strive towards making every day Earth Day!

Rain or shine, Earth Day events go on. Despite the gloomy forecast, Virginia Tech’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) drove more than four hours from Blacksburg to Washington D.C.’s National Mall to show off their EcoCAR at the EPA’s Earth Day events last weekend.

The EPA Earth Day tent housed “green” exhibits, including the Virginia Tech EcoCAR booth, as well as the 55 university teams competing for EPA’s P3 award. The P3—people, prosperity, and the planet—is a competition that provides funding for top collegiate sustainable design programs. Though Virginia Tech was not among the competitors this year, HEVT was honored to be exhibiting among future-forward ideas similar to the EcoCAR competition.

Saturday’s rain storm made for quite a mess, but there were still plenty of visitors at the HEVT booth. Visitors loved the team’s toy hybrid cars and were excited to talk about the vehicle and the competition. On Sunday, the skies cleared up and visitors were able to spend time with the VTREX and visit our table inside the EPA tent. It was exciting to talk to attendees of the EPA event as well as passers-by who were simply out to enjoy the sights of D.C.

Overall, the event was a huge success for HEVT since the team was able to reach not only EPA Earth Day supporters, but hundreds of other D.C. visitors and residents. Thank you to EPA for putting on such a great weekend!

Like many of the EcoCAR teams, Mississippi State has been celebrating Earth Day all week! 

Yesterday, the team participated in an Earth Day bike tour on campus. Kicking off the ride, MSU team members gave a short presentation on the importance of hybrid technology and the work being done to their vehicle. The team’s EcoCAR then served as a safety vehicle, riding alongside the bikers. 

Today, team leader, Matthew Doude, is traveling to Forrest, Mississippi to participate in Raytheon Company’s Earth Day Education Fair. While Matthew is spending the day in Forrest, the rest of the team will be on campus for the MSU Earth Day Fair. At the event, several “green-minded” groups will set up booths to educate students and faculty on how to help make the world a greener place. To finish out the day, the MSU team will head to a local elementary school to educate the youth on the advantages of hybrids and going green.

The MSU team is excited about celebrating the 40th Earth Day and encourages you to do your part to help our environment!

It’s almost April 22 and to mark 40 years since the first Earth Day, the EcoCAR teams are looking under the hood for inspiration. Many of the EcoCAR vehicles can travel roughly 40 miles on electric power. Conveniently, 70-80% of the population travels less than 40 miles a day. But when it’s time for a weekend getaway, it’s easy to rack up the miles. This Earth Day, we challenge you to take a 40 Mile Pledge! For the rest of 2010, every time you hit the road for a day trip, keep it under 40.

Need inspiration? The EcoCAR teams shared a few of their favorite under-40-mile day trips: 

• From Elizabeth Butler on the Mississippi State team: “With the spring weather having arrived, I grabbed two of my best friends and headed off to the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi. The 14 mile drive to get to this refuge is scenic and beautiful, with cows and fields and an occasional gravel road. Once at the refuge, you can fish, go on nature walks through the woods, or visit the Goose Overlook – our favorite spot. This refreshing escape is well worth the 28 mile trip.”  

Goose Overlook at Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, 14 miles from Mississippi State's campus

 The Georgia Tech EcoCAR team can zip up to Lake Lanier in under 40 miles to go camping, hiking, fishing or out on a boat ride.

• Some of the Penn State team’s favorite under-40 trips include Mount Nittany, which is considered a mandatory hike for any graduate and is only a 15 mile ride on the local CATA bus, which runs on natural gas to boot! Fisherman’s Paradise is another favorite spot, which boasts some of the best fly fishing in the country and is 20 miles from campus. Del Grosso’s Amusement Park, Penns Cave and Tussey Mountain are other local favorites. 

Battery leader Shawn Getty from the Penn State team at Fisherman's Paradise

• Meramec Caverns and Meramec springs – which produces 96,000,000 gallons of water per day! – are a couple of Missouri S&T team’s favorite under-40 daytrips.

• The engineers from Ohio State’s team go to the nearcy Mohican State Park for hiking, canoeing, camping and other outdoor activities. There also have a few in-town “getaways” like the Easton Towne Center for shopping and dining, the Columbus Zoo and the vibrant neighborhoods of Columbus like the Short North, German Village and Arena districts.

• For a short getaway, the University of Victoria team heads out to Butchart Gardens – 55 acres of historic gardens – Sombrio Beach for surfing or to Sooke Potholes Regional Park for a swim in natural pools carved into the bedrock. Just a short sail (zero gas!) from campus is Salt Spring Island, where the team hears live music and checks out the work of local artists.

Natural pools at Sooke Potholes Regional Park near the UVic campus

Want to take the Challenge? Try an online map radius tool, like this one, to show you what’s within 40 miles of your city. 

Happy Earth Day!   

EcoEagles members Vincent Sabatini and Kamau Kelly talk to event attendees

EcoEagles members Vincent Sabatini and Kamau Kelly talk to event attendees

On April 19, 2009, students from the Embry-Riddle EcoCAR team, the EcoEagles, made an impressive display at the Daytona Kennel Club’s 2009 Earth Day event.

The event featured many local vendors of “green” technology for home and businesses, including solar panels, low-electricity LED lighting and non-toxic chemicals for industrial cleaning. Local car dealerships displayed hybrid vehicles and answered questions about vehicle performance and environmental impact.

The EcoEagles team was a headline presenter at the event, which focused heavily on environmental education for the greater Daytona Beach community. Team members were on hand to talk about environmental issues, hybrid vehicle technology, ways for everybody to be more “green” and, of course, about what the team is doing, both for the competition and in the community in general.
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Team member Emily Simmons hands Dara Stillman (tree) flower packets on Earth Day

Team member Emily Simmons hands Dara Stillman (tree) flower packets on Earth Day

On April 22, the Penn State Advanced Vehicle Technologies Team celebrated Earth Day at the University Park campus. The team parked outside of HUB-Robeson student center during lunch hours to talk with students and faculty about the EcoCAR Competition and the importance of environmentally-friendly automobiles. The team passed out flower seeds packets to students to emphasize the ‘going green’ theme and urged them to help protect the environment.

The team was also on hand during the signing of the EPA’s Sustainability Partnership Program. Penn State was the first university to join this partnership, which signifies the University’s commitment to a reduction in energy use and recycling efforts. After the signing, EPA officials talked with team members about the EcoCAR and Penn State’s efforts in the competition. Many officials seemed pleased with what we have accomplished and hope to work with us in the future.
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y0hbcanpy61dcaj0gwnccaxhhvoaca8aobzhca3coy36caut6szkca3e8uz0cafy8655carqcnnfca3m115ecaewfea0capxukbqcapy3b0acaz53svxcazqpvtfcaz2jp2icalpesfacawy0kjzcam9ovmoPerhaps you’ve decided to walk to work today. Maybe you’re going to plant a tree. Whatever you’ve got planned, the fact that you’re more aware of the planet is a step in the right direction. Most of the EcoCAR team is now running around SAE Congress in Detroit and it’s clear that the auto industry is keenly aware of our place in history. We’re excited to be part of such a big change in history. Monday, as SAE Congress opened, Governor Schwarzenegger remarked that “It’s easy to stay with the status quo and not venture out too far and to be innovative.” Well, the easy days are officially over.
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