Contest gives high school students a CHANCE to be environmental idols

Penn State Lehigh Valley CHANCE (Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences) is accepting entries for the 2010 CHANCE Idol competition. Now in its second year, the CHANCE Idol competition challenges high school students to write their own environmentally-related words to a favorite song; videotape their group performing the new song; then upload the video to YouTube and send the judges the link to the video. The deadline for entries is March 31, 2010.

Three winners (first, second, and third place) will be selected from high schools throughout Pennsylvania and their videos will be showcased on the CHANCE Web site at The winning group will receive a $2,000 prize to implement an environmentally focused project in their school community. The winning group's school also will receive a visit from some of the program's collaborators and sponsors for the grand prize presentation.

The entries will be judged by a panel of professionals on clarity of environmental message, creativity, production quality and the intended environmental project they would enact with the prize money. The contest is co-sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur and ATAS International Inc.

The idea for the competition came from the success of Richard B. Alley's recent environmentally-focused YouTube music videos, which have been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times. Alley is Evan Pugh Professor in the Department of Geosciences and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Penn State, and a collaborator with Jacqueline McLaughlin, associate professor of biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley and developer and director of the CHANCE program.

CHANCE is a coordinated effort and partnership between Penn State and the Pennsylvania Department of Education that addresses the need to train Pennsylvania's high school teachers in environmental science and ecology.