BRYN MAWR, PA--(Marketwire - April 17, 2008) - A team of eight students from The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr will be celebrating this Earth Day. Not only have they done their part to protect the planet, they've also emerged as one of only 14 first place teams throughout the country who have each won $50,000 in the Lexus Environmental Challenge, a national competition designed by Lexus and Scholastic to educate and empower teens to think big about possible solutions that could make a positive impact on the environment.

The Shipley School will receive a grant for $10,000, the teacher advisor will get a $5,000 grant, and the students will share $35,000 in scholarships. Throughout the seven-month-long environmental education program and contest, more than $1 million in grants and scholarships have been awarded.

"When we introduced this challenge, we really had no idea what kind of programs the students would dream up," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "Well, now we know they're not afraid to dream big, and act on those dreams. We were amazed at all the teams' innovative ideas, their ingenuity and their pure passion for the topics they chose to address. It's exciting to see these young people discover their voices and learn they have the power to make a difference."

"The Great Gators" team focused on alleviating the problem of too many cars on the road that operate with under-inflated tires, which reduces fuel mileage, thus releasing more carbon dioxide into the environment. The students targeted car dealership service department employees to educate them about the problem. They also created a movie to inform and motivate service technicians to check their customers' tire pressures. They distributed the movie, along with an informational packet, to major Toyota dealerships across the country. The team also promoted their messages on YouTube and on the school's Web site.

"This program provided us with a great vehicle to help spread our message about tire pressure and climate change, and the students are definitely inspired to do more," said the team's teacher advisor Elizabeth Martin. "Now that the challenge is over, they want to use the publicity we've had to reach even more people in different ways. We are currently planning a visit to an elementary school to tell those students about what the Green Gators have accomplished. We hope we can inspire other students to push for positive environmental changes as well."

The final winners were selected from 55 teams that qualified for this Final Challenge by winning in one or more of the four previous Challenges that were held from September to February. These initial Challenges, addressing land, air, water and climate, asked teams to take a stand for the environment in their local community and winning teams in these categories each won $3,000. The Final Challenge required teams to reach beyond the local community and inspire environmental action around the world through innovative ideas that were communicated to a wide audience.

The Lexus Environmental Challenge will enter its second year in fall 2008. Teachers and students are encouraged to visit to view all the winning entries and to learn how they can take part in next year's program.

Contact Information: Media Contact: Sandra Levy (562) 391-1516