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The Disneyland Report > Disney News > Jiminy Cricket Environmentality Challenge program awards fifth graders from El Verano school

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Jiminy Cricket Environmentality Challenge program awards fifth graders from El Verano school

SONOMA, Calif. -- A class of caring and enthusiastic fifth graders from El Verano elementary school earned top honors and an all-expense-paid trip to the Disneyland Resort as part of this year's Jiminy Cricket Environmentality Challenge program. The statewide competition promotes "environmentality" -- thinking and acting environmentally -- among elementary school students.

Teacher David Neubacher and his fifth grade students today received awards and accolades for their environmental efforts during a surprise visit by Jiminy Cricket, California Department of Fish and Game Director Ryan Broddrick, Kris McNamara, director of Corporate Environmental Programs and Policy for The Walt Disney Company, and other representatives from both The Walt Disney Company and the California Environmental Education Interagency Network (CEEIN).

Also in attendance were Dr. Kim Jamieson, superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District; Michelle Moss, field representative to United States Senator Barbara Boxer; and Cheryl Itamura, from the Sonoma Ecology Center.

The Sonoma students were among over 40,000 students from more than 1,300 classes throughout California who participated in this year's Environmentality Challenge. The class impressed judges with its environmental education project, "Dare to Care." As part of the project, the class developed a community involvement program to restore a local creek and monitor its ecosystem. The class also wrote letters to United States Senators advocating a cease to illegal Bushmeat trade, as well as sponsored a project to help victims of the December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. To further spread their message of environmental action, the class developed projects for each grade level at El Verano elementary school and encouraged their fellow students to participate in these programs.

For their efforts, the fifth grade students will receive a "Jiminy" award on April 8, 2005, at a special celebration in their honor at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Presenting the award will be Secretary of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell; California Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman; Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency Alan Lloyd; Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura; United States Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri; and representatives of both The Walt Disney Company and CEEIN.

This is the fourth Grand Prize win for El Verano teacher David Neubacher. In 1996, 1997 and 2003, Neubacher's class also impressed judges, winning the top prize with other notable environmental projects.

The Environmentality Challenge, first launched in 1994, is a partnership between The Walt Disney Company and CEEIN. CEEIN includes representatives from the California Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education, the Department of Food and Agriculture, the Resources Agency, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Services. The Environmentality Challenge encourages students to develop action projects that target real-world environmental challenges.

To date, more than 680,000 children have participated in the Challenge. Teachers interested in this program can request educational materials from CEEIN to develop environmentally-related curricula using the California Content Standards.

Jiminy Cricket's Environmentality Challenge is a result of a unique partnership between The Walt Disney Company in partnership and the State of California's Environmental Education Interagency Network (CEEIN). For more information on the challenge, visit http://www.oehha.ca.gov/ceein/jim/index.htm

Source: Press Release

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