project leader
Lauren W
16 NW Kansas Ave
(Bend, OR)
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Project Update :: Great success during 2015-2016 school year!

the project

At the Environmental Center, we believe that educating kids about sustainability is crucial to a healthy future for people and the planet. We teach local students to understand the connection between humans and the environment and to make decisions that reduce their impact.

The Bend Energy Challenge, an initiative of The Environmental Center, is Bend, Oregon’s team in the Georgetown University Energy Prize - a national competition to reduce energy use. After a two-year competition period in 2015 and 2016, a $5 million prize will be awarded to the community that leads the way in reducing energy use.

The Energy Prize competition challenges participating communities to tap their imagination and work collaboratively to reduce energy use - to become “energy heroes.” It is a great fit for Bend’s creative, competitive and entrepreneurial spirit, and presents a unique opportunity to organize and build momentum for clean, renewable energy and a low-carbon future in Bend.

Involving kids is essential to reducing Bend’s energy use and winning the Energy Prize competition.  Not only is youth engagement one of the judging criteria, but youth can also be effective ambassadors for energy conservation and solar. If we want to win, and reduce Bend’s carbon footprint, we must educate, empower and inspire kids to “Take the Pledge!” at home and become champions of energy efficiency and solar within their families and peer groups. We need Bend's youth to become energy  heroes.

the steps

The majority of Bend public school students will go back to school September 9-11, 2015. Therefore, there is a sense of urgency to raise funds now so that Bend Energy Challenge programming can be implemented as soon as kids are back in the classroom.

Over the next year, we will:

  • Deliver a four-part energy education program to at least 1,000 6th graders in Bend schools. Through fun, interactive and hands-on learning experiences, students will learn about energy sources, how they can conserve energy at home and the benefits of going solar.
  • Promote an inter-school competition among Bend high school students, using school assemblies and presentations, social media, prizes and existing inter-school rivalries to encourage youth involvement. 
  • Get 1,500 middle and high school students to “Take the Pledge!” and save energy at home.

why we're doing it

Energy demand in the Pacific Northwest is projected to increase 33% by 2030. Studies have shown that we can meet most of that new demand through energy efficiency measures, and that efficiency is one of the lowest cost ways to meet increased demand for many utilities and their rate payers. Energy efficiency also allows us to delay costly investments in new fossil-fuel power plants while alternative, low-carbon energy technologies mature and come down in cost.

The Bend Energy Challenge allows us the unique opportunity to leverage our entire community, in addition to sophisticated technology and resources, in a way that promotes a move towards a clean energy economy.

In order to make the largest impact possible, we must start educating youth about energy conservation this fall. We believe that educating for sustainability is crucial. The choices and actions we make today will affect our future environment and the next generation. We can use the classroom as an avenue for teaching children why it is important to save energy, explaining the difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, and demonstrating ways to cut back on energy use. Through this program, we can inspire and empower kids to become advocates for energy efficiency within their own families and peer groups.

The more kids we have on board and taking/sharing the pledge, the closer we get to winning the $5 million prize – and reducing Bend’s overall carbon footprint. 

Read more about the Bend Energy Challenge and the Georgetown University Energy Prize.


Disbursement Budget:

We will increase our staff time to 635 hours. $6,703.88 will go toward 6th grade classes, and $6,000 for high schools. The extra $700 will allow us to reach more students with our lessons.

RAISED = $13,120.00
 less ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $381.12
TOTAL TO DISBURSE = $12,703.88


Original budget:

We hope to raise the cash from a combination of gifts to the online campaign, as well as a local corporate match.

$12,000 (cash) for staff time during the school year - 600 hours total @ $20/hr

·        $6,000 for 6th grade classroom presentations, including promotion, prep work, transportation, materials, etc.

·        $6,000 for school-wide presentations and assemblies, sharing The Bend Energy Challenge with students in a way that’ social, competitive and engaging.


  SUBTOTAL = $12,000
  ioby Platform Fee  $35
  ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $360
  TOTAL TO RAISE = $12,395



Project Update :: Great success during 2015-2016 school year!

Hello, Environmental Center friends!

Last summer, you supported our campaign to fund a Youth Energy Heroes program in Bend. Our goal, before the school year started, was to raise enough money to share energy education with 6th grade students and inspire them to conserve energy at home. The project is part of The Bend Energy Challenge, our team in a national competition to reduce energy use and win a $5 million prize. Engaging local youth is a key element of our team’s strategy to win. 

Thanks to your generosity, we experienced great success during the 2015-2016 school year. Here’s what we accomplished with your help.

Our four-part “Energy and You” series was presented to 6th grade students in every middle school in the Bend-La Pine School District and at Seven Peaks, a local private school. We spent 40 days in classrooms and reached:

  • 1,243 students who each received 4 lessons;
  • 15 different teachers;
  • at 7 schools.

We launched the program at the beginning of January, inspiring 6th graders to be Energy Heroes through four lessons:

  • Lesson One: Students reviewed potential and kinetic energy, the forms of energy around us and how they are transformed.
  • Lesson Two: Students began to understand how we use these forms of energy to generate electricity for our use through a mini group research activity.
  • Lesson Three: Students completed an in-class lab activity to test various electronics measuring electricity. Students then brought home their understanding and performed a home energy audit.
  • Lesson Four: Back in class, students calculated kilowatt hours used in their homes and transferred that understanding to how conservation can save resources, money and help Bend WIN the $5 million prize.

Each student was then awarded a Certified Energy Hero certificate, and decided on 5 energy-saving actions they’d implement at home.

Teachers enjoyed the hands-on elements brought to the classroom. Plus, students were excited to go home and make changes to become real Energy Heroes!

We’re inspired by the stories shared with us from teachers, parents and students who “joined our team” of Energy Heroes. Below is a letter from Rachel, a 6th grade student at Pacific Crest Middle School. We were thrilled to help Rachel (and many other students) on a mission to save energy! Thank you again for supporting this important program within our schools. You helped make it all possible, and we're so grateful for your contribution!


THANK YOU for helping us reach our goal!

We did it! We hit our goal! A tremendous THANK YOU to everyone who supported this campaign - we couldn't have done it without you. We're so excited to bring energy education to kids in our community, and can't wait to see the impact this program makes!

Thanks again to our local business heroes who provided a matching challenge that got us across the finish line - Wanderlust Tours, SolAire Homebuilders, Bend Garbage & Recycling and Capstone CPAs.

We're counting on YOU.


We're just three days away from our deadline, and we need YOU to be an Energy Hero! We unlocked two of our four matching donations this week - thanks to Bend Garbage & Recycling and Wanderlust Tours! Now we need to unlock the final two from SolAire Homebuilders and Capstone CPAsLet's raise another $1,675 to get there.

  • $30 will deliver ONE classroom energy lesson
  • $60 will deliver TWO energy lessons
  • $120 will deliver ALL FOUR energy lessons 
  • $240 will allow for a school-wide assembly to share The Bend Energy Challenge with all students

Every contribution brings us closer to delivering energy education to kids this school year. Thank you for your support! 

All gifts matched, and campaign extended!

We need $12,395. We're not quite there. So we've extended our fundraising campaign through September 13th.  And your donation will be matched!

We're excited to announce that a handful of great local businesses have come together to offer one more match challenge of $2,475, which gets us to the finish line! Thanks to Bend Garbage & Recycling, Capstone CPAs, SolAire Homebuilders, Wanderlust Tours, plus an anonymous generous donor, for making this possible.

Last chance to double your money. 

We have 6 days left to unlock this matching opportunity. We need your help to raise an additional $2,475 to receive the final match and reach our goal. Join us in creating a community of youth Energy Heroes! 


Big news! Thanks to all of you, we raised an additional $2,000 in the last week, which means we just received the $2,000 match from our generous donor! Thanks to everyone who doubled their dollars in support of our program. Let's keep the momentum rolling!

Must watch! Soleil Haskell, High School Energy Hero

We find this video so inspiring. Our program will help Bend high schoolers learn how to be champions of energy efficency among their peers and families. Check it out!


Match Announcement!

Today, we broke the $3,000 mark on our campaign to bring energy education to Bend schools. But we still have nearly $9,000 to go to reach our goal.

Thanks to a generous donor, we're excited to announce a matching challenge. Every dollar you donate in the next week, up to $2,000, will be matched dollar for dollar. You can be a hero by helping us inspire youth energy heroes. 

Meet Sam, an Energy Hero! Vote for your favorite outtake.

Behind the scenes footage with one of our youth Energy Heroes! Which take if your favorite?

View the short video here!



Let's get to $1,000!

It’s a new week, and we’d love to start it off right by hitting $1,000 today! Can you help us out? We only have TWO WEEKS left to reach our goal. 

Follow along on our Facebook page for videos, photos and more!


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Matching Donation
  • Capstone CPAs
  • Amelia V.
  • John H.
  • Steven Ames
  • Sally Russell
  • Jillian
  • Anonymous
  • katie h.
  • Marilynne K.
  • Irene Goodnight
  • Christine Winters
  • Nancy E.
  • SolAire Homebuilders
  • Kelly and Peter Sparks
  • GB2 Agency
  • Ann Wheeler/Geoff Bartol
  • Carrie W.
  • Saginaw Sunset
  • Betsy Warriner
  • Fran McCabe Peeples
  • Anonymous
  • Anjou Spa
  • Charlotte L.
  • Anonymous
  • Stacey mckinney
  • Bend Garbage & Recycling
  • Marcia T.
  • Wanderlust Tours
  • gretchen r.
  • The Lauterbach Family
  • Sweet Posy Floral
  • Anonymous
  • Daniel D.
  • Jim Clark
  • Dianne H.
  • anon
  • Laura and Ron Fritz
  • Jenni P
  • Robyn H.
  • Steven Floyd Consulting
  • Anonymous
  • Matching Donation
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Laurie L.
  • Jamie Pearce
  • Anonymous
  • Kate Cahill
  • Anonymous
  • Susan Brody & Al Johnson
  • David and Diane Dedrick
  • DKA Architecture & Design
  • RJ Johnson
  • Cort Vaughan
  • Gwen L.
  • C. H.
  • Megan Power
  • Katie Chipko
  • Life Story Moments
  • Barbara N.
  • Bo B.
  • hunter d.
  • Anonymous
  • The Gordon Family
  • Craig R.
  • Anonymous
  • JH
  • Anonymous
  • DANI Naturals
  • Energy Hero!
  • Marianne
  • Mike R.
  • Mary Fay
  • Jennifer Letz
  • Anonymous
  • denise
  • Ross Rendo Jr.
  • Anonymous
  • Kim McClain
  • The Barlow Family
  • Kara D.
  • jackie m.
  • The Nordquests
  • Anonymous
  • Lauren W
  • Anonymous
  • Carol Woodard Kozimor
  • Pam & Bill Fisher
  • Kirin S.
  • Lindsey Hardy
  • Sue & Doug McClain