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Edison and USC Launch Third Annual Challenge

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Middle school and high school students are encouraged to create original science projects related to energy and the environment for the third annual Edison Challenge, a competition co-sponsored by Edison International and USC. School teams can register for the event until Oct. 31.

"The competition has provided a wonderful opportunity for students in the region to create innovative projects and expand their knowledge of energy and the environment," said Barbara J. Parsky, senior vice president, Corporate Communications, Edison International. "Participants in the Edison Challenge are our future environmental stewards who are gaining practical experience and learning the valuable benefits of math and science, which may inspire their career choices."

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Remington Parker, one of the last year’s Edison Challenge winners, creates an environmentally-themed t-shirt during her team’s week-long stay at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island.

Edison pledged $1 million over four years, its largest environmental education grant, to fund the program. It is one of the company's premier community-based initiatives designed to expand educational opportunities and upholds Edison's long-standing commitment to preserving and protecting the environment.

Edison International partnered with the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, a unit of the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, to create the Edison Challenge in 2006.

Students from more than 50 middle schools and high schools across Edison International subsidiary Southern California Edison's (SCE's) 50,000 square-mile service territory registered in the 2007-2008 competition. Gabrielino High School in San Gabriel took first place honors in that competition, and SOAR High School in Lancaster placed second. In the middle school category, Sycamore Canyon Middle School in Newbury Park was the first place winner, and Murray Middle School in Ridgecrest came in second place.

Members of the first place teams enjoyed a week-long trip to the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island. Second place finishers took a four-day trip to SCE's Big Creek Hydroelectric Facility in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This year's winners will receive similar trips.

Sycamore Canyon students said creating and completing their winning project was rewarding in many ways.

"They gained immeasurable knowledge, and their experience in Catalina working with marine biologists was one that they will remember for a lifetime," said Pam Bluestein, teacher and team adviser.

Members of Gabrielino High's team also said their experience with the Edison Challenge was life changing.

"For our team, the opportunity to study and perform research at the Wrigley Marine Institute transformed the students' perspective on what science is when applied in the real world," said Michael Winters, teacher and team adviser. Both schools plan to compete again this year.

Edison Challenge entrants must submit projects that focus on one or more of the following topics:

  • Energy transfer through wind, ocean currents or water cycle.
  • Energy conservation and energy efficiency for residential, commercial or industrial users, water conservation, land conservation, recycling or waste management.
  • Environmental protection and sustainability (habitat or endangered species protection, watershed management and climate change).
  • Renewable energy sources (small hydroelectric, solar, wind, biomass and geothermal).
  • Air and water quality (compliance and stewardship, environmental justice and traffic congestion management).
  • Alternative transportation (electric, biodiesel and alternative fuels).

Registration for the Edison Challenge runs through Oct. 31. Final projects are due by February 2009, and winners will be announced in March 2009. For more information about the Edison Challenge or to register, go to www.sce.com/edisonchallenge.

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