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2021 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest Winners Share Their Story

In the fourth year of the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC)’s “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest, students in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school submitted their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state. Students were asked to create art focused on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep the air clean. NCCETC congratulated three artists located in Black Mountain, Hampstead and Cary, N.C.

Heather Brutz, Finance & Operations Manager of the Clean Transportation Program at NCCETC, and leader of the art contest, said her goals were to educate the public about what steps we can take to improve air quality, as well as engage young people’s creative talents to help get the word out. Brutz said she originally came up with the Student Art Contest while recalling a previous job as a middle school teacher and hoped that the contest would engage young people’s creativity to help spread the message about ways we can reduce air pollution from vehicles. 

“When I was a teacher, I would often try to engage students in a variety of different ways to teach a lesson. I applied that same thinking when I came up with the idea of the art contest. I wanted to engage a different audience than we sometimes engage in our other educational activities and I wanted to engage them in a different sort of activity than what we were already doing,” Brutz explained. “Artwork is so powerful and I wanted to work together with young artists to spread the message about ways we can keep our air clean.”

This year’s artwork was judged by a panel of four judges: Carla Davis, communications coordinator for NC State University’s Sustainability Office; Erin Champion, academic coordinator for the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State University; Traci Rider, assistant professor of architecture in the College of Design at NC State University; and Vincent Fazzio from Lamar Advertising. All of the winners selected by the judges were also voted in the top three artwork in their categories on NCCETC’s Facebook page.

The Center received a great number of submissions from students across the state. Brutz said, “I am very pleased at the number of submissions we received this year. We received 70 art submissions from all across North Carolina. It was a very competitive contest, and while we were only able to choose three winners to have their artwork displayed on billboards, every single young artist who submitted should feel proud of their artwork.”

We talked to winners of the contest about their artwork and what clean air means to them:

Ella Millwood – Elementary School Winner | Black Mountain Elementary School, Black Mountain, NC

Why did you want to enter the contest?

I wanted to enter because I wanted everyone to see what the world could become. 

What does your artwork mean/what were you trying to express?

That people should help keep our air clean.

What does “keep our air clean” mean to you? Why do you think keeping our air clean is important?

I think it is important because if the air is really polluted, we wouldn’t be able to breathe and there would be very little life on earth.

Are you doing things in your own life – like riding your bike, carpooling, etc?

We walk and carpool whenever possible. 

What was your reaction when you found out you won the contest?

I was surprised! I didn’t think I would actually win.

What do you hope will come out of your artwork being up on a billboard for people to see?

People to stop polluting our air and realize what the world could be.

Anything else you’d like to share.

I think that’s all!

Vivienne Butanis – Middle School Winner | Surf City Middle School, Hampstead, NC

Why did you want to enter the contest?

I wanted to enter the Student Art Contest because I wanted to express my disdain for the way we are treating our environment. It was an art class assignment to connect our art class to science. It was a way for me to see how I could interpret the current conditions of our environment into an art piece. 

What does your artwork mean/what were you trying to express?

My artwork is trying to express how badly we are currently treating the environment. My artwork depicts our earth from two points of view: the first point of view shows where the air is polluted, and another point of view of how our environment might look if taken better care of.

What does “keep our air clean” mean to you? Why do you think keeping our air clean is important?

Keeping our air clean is important to me because at the rate we are burning fossil fuels and destroying the ozone layer, the earth won’t be inhabitable much longer which is a big part of why taking care of the environment is vital. We are not protecting the environment for just ourselves but for generations to come.

Are you doing things in your own life – like riding your bike, carpooling, etc?

I like to ride my bike and skateboard so I can get to places without having to increase my carbon footprint. It’s easier to get around in a coastal community only using a skateboard and a bike.

What was your reaction when you found out you won the contest?

I was very surprised and happy because I saw this contest as a good opportunity to put myself out there. My teacher says that art is not meant to be hidden in a drawer. We should put our work out there to cause a change. Sometimes that change is as simple as a thought.

What do you hope will come out of your artwork being up on a billboard for people to see?

I hope that people can see the current state of our environment and strive to make it better. Hopefully it will spark a change in everyone. We can not do everything but we can all do something.

Anything else you’d like to share.

Thank you for the opportunity of this contest that allows us to connect and reach people outside of our communities. 

Ashleigh Smith – High School Winner | Cary Academy, Cary, NC

Why did you want to enter the contest?

I entered the contest because I thought that it provided a unique opportunity to spread an important message, and as an artist I really love to use my artwork to help out in my community if I can. It was also just really fun to make!

What does your artwork mean/what were you trying to express?

There is a really nice greenway near my house and my family and I love to use it to get some exercise or a breath of fresh air by walking, running, skateboarding, or riding our bikes. I was inspired by that greenway and my brother’s love for mountain biking to create a piece that incorporated both and displayed a love for the beauty of nature and the outdoors, which will hopefully help convince people to help keep their air clean.

What does “keep our air clean” mean to you? Why do you think keeping our air clean is important?

The state of our environment is more important to how we live our lives than I think a lot of people realize. If we care for our environment, it will care for us too and that can be as simple as carpooling with a friend or riding your bike to the store instead of driving. 

Are you doing things in your own life – like riding your bike, carpooling, etc?

Yes! I take regular walks with my mom around our neighborhood, and I always try to organize a carpool when going someplace with friends because it’s both environmentally-friendly and fun.

What was your reaction when you found out you won the contest?

I was so surprised, I couldn’t believe it! Everyone who submitted artwork is really talented and I’m glad that my work could be among theirs as well. 

What do you hope will come out of your artwork being up on a billboard for people to see?

I hope that it will inspire people to see the beauty and opportunities that nature holds, and further strive to understand how and why we need to take care of the air. 

Anything else you’d like to share.

Special thanks to my brother for modeling for me, as he is actually the person on the bike silhouetted in my art piece. He let me take pictures of him riding and then I used them to create my work.

Coming Next Month: 2021 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest Launches

North Carolina students from kindergarten through high school are invited to submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state!

This Earth Day, you can show us how you help keep the air clean!

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is excited to announce the 4th Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest this March, where students residing in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork focused on the theme of actions that individual families can take to reduce the amount of air pollution from vehicles. 

Winners will have their artwork featured on billboards across the state to help spread the word about ways that we all can help keep the air clean!

Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using biofuels, electric vehicles, and more. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted.

Artwork in a more horizontal rectangular shape (about the shape of a billboard) is recommended.

Recommended dimensions:

  • 400h x 840w pixels at 72 ppi
  • 400h x 1400w pixels at 72 ppi 
  • Save as JPG, PNG or BMP at maximum quality in RGB mode

Note: Text may be added on final billboards with the “Keep Our Air Clean” tagline.

The winner will be chosen based on:

  • Relevance and appropriateness of the message, judged by NCCETC
  • Visual design, judged by NCCETC
  • Public votes on our Facebook account

If you submitted artwork last year and have questions or concerns, please contact Heather Brutz at hmbrutz@ncsu.edu

The official link and email to submit photos will be posted this March. Stay tuned on www.facebook.com/NCCleanTech and www.FuelWhatMatters.org!

2020 “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest Launches This March

North Carolina students from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state

This Earth Day, show how you help keep the air clean!

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is sponsoring its 3rd Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest this March, where students residing in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork focused on the theme of actions that individuals and families can take to reduce the amount of air pollution from vehicles.

Winners will have their artwork featured on billboards across the state to help spread the word about ways that we all can help keep the air clean!

Artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using biofuels, electric vehicles, and more. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted.

Artwork in a more horizontal rectangular shape (about the shape of a billboard) is recommended. Recommended dimensions:

• 400h x 840w pixels at 72 ppi
• 
400h x 1400w pixels at 72 ppi
• 
Save as JPG, PNG or BMP at maximum quality in RGB mode

Note: Text may be added on final billboards with the “Keep Our Air Clean” tagline.

The winner will be chosen based on:
• Relevance and appropriateness of the message, judged by NCCETC
• Visual design, judged by NCCETC
• Public votes on our Facebook account

See last year’s winners here.

The official link and email to submit photos will be posted March 16. Stay tuned for updates on www.facebook.com/NCCleanTech and www.FuelWhatMatters! Email Nicole Wilson at nadeck@ncsu.edu for any questions.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles Workshop

Alternative Fuel Vehicles Workshop for Local Governments and Citizens

By the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments’ (KTRCOG) Planning Department

Venue

The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments’ (KTRCOG) Planning Department facilitated an Alternative Fuel Vehicles workshop on Thursday, December 5, 2019. The three and one-half hour workshop occurred at Council of Governments headquarter located at 1724 Graham Avenue, Henderson, NC.  The goal of KTRCG is to promote regionalism that provides opportunities for local governments to enhance and improve the quality of life for citizens through the effective delivery of services and programs.

Workshop Purpose

The workshop educated local governments and the public about clean energy alternative fuel solutions and technologies that help reduce transportation-related emissions and air pollutants. Participants received information that allowed them to make informed decisions about implementing alternative fuel use into their department fleet of vehicles and daily lives.

Speaker Lineup

The workshop featured four dynamic presentations from NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) Program Director Rick Sapienza, Alliance AutoGas Municipal and Law Enforcement Specialist Mike Phillips, Blue Arrow Telematics Major Account Consultant Melvin McNeill, and Tesla Advisors Gabriella Kuznik and Kristin Landrum.  The workshop culminated with a video from U.S. House of Representatives Congressmen G.K. Butterfield, D-NC 1st District.  

NC Clean Energy Technology Center

Rick Sapienza gave attendees an overview of the services that NCCETC provides.  Sapienza’s presentation discussed ways that attendees could procure funding opportunities for clean transportation vehicles and infrastructure. Sapienza also stated the importance of capitalizing on alternative fuel and advanced transportation technology incentives to cut costs and reduce emissions.

Alliance AutoGas

Mike Phillips discussed the seven components of a successful Autogas Program.  Phillips emphasized using a top-down buy-in approach to implement a turnkey operation in local government department fleets that cut fuel and maintenance costs, while reducing emissions. 

Blue Arrow Telematics

Melvin McNeill discussed vehicle safety and data solutions for law enforcement offered through using telematics.  Participants gleaned a better understanding of the role telematics plays in driver safety implementation and best practices. The examples McNeill provided as to why government entities should integrate telematics, technology and data solutions into their fleets resonated with workshop attendees.

Tesla

Gabriella Kuznik and Kristin Landrum of Tesla discussed their new product line and electric vehicle technologies coming down the pipeline. From their presentation, attendees realized the role that electric vehicles play in the reduction of emissions.  Also, they did an analysis breakdown, putting into perspective the affordability of a Tesla for the average consumer.

The CCC Approach (Combating Climate Change)

Congressman Butterfield stated the importance of using biofuels to produce crops in rural communities to combat climate change.  The House of Representatives has a goal of attaining zero net emissions, leaving the country carbon-free by 2050. This objective parallels Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 80 initiative to reduce global warming.

Conclusion

Overall, the Alternative Vehicles Workshop was a success.  Evaluation results suggest that participants gained a better understanding of how the transportation sector is the primary direct path to address climate change. Using alternative fuels ensures the reduction of negative emissions.

Posted by Nicole Deck

National Drive Electric Week 2019 Photos

Last week, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center celebrated National Drive Electric Week 2019 with six events in Raleigh at NC State University, Winston-Salem at Wake Forest University, and Pittsboro, NC! Check out the photos from the events below.

NC State Football Tailgate & Expo (Photos by Nicole Deck)

 

Centennial Campus Expo + Ride & Drive (Photos by Nicole Deck)

 

Driver Meet-Up + Ride & Drive (Photos by Nicole Deck)

Winston-Salem events at Wake Forest University (Photos by Matt Abele)

Downtown Pittsboro Expo (Photos by John Bonitz)

Clean Transportation Demonstration Days Oct. 8 & 9

Join the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition and Triangle J Council of Governments for two Clean Transportation Demonstration Days this October 8 & 9!

Register for the Oct. 8 Concord event here, and register for the Oct. 9 Raleigh event here.

Ron Luttrell of Zero Motorcycles talks to a guest test driving a Zero Motorcycle at First Responder Clean Transportation Demonstration Day.
Photo by Mark Lienhard, EVOLVE GT LLC.

Executive Order 80 calls for the State of North Carolina to protect its environment while growing clean energy technologies. The order “affirms North Carolina’s commitment to reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2005 levels, calls for a 40% reduction in energy consumption in state-owned buildings, and calls for an increase in registered, zero-emission vehicles (“ZEVs”) to at least 80,000 – all by year 2025.”

Clean Transportation Demonstration Days support Executive Order 80 and give government entities across North Carolina information and experience with clean transportation technologies. The day will consist of classroom instruction with real-world case study results, hands-on product static review, networking, and a closed-course ride and drive for those who wish to participate.

Classroom instruction will include alternative fuel options, telematics and other new technologies, safety and more. There will be a diverse display of vehicles including a Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica, police vehicle and fire truck, Zero Motorcycle and more. Lunch will be provided.

*Note: The event is only open to government entities and utilities.

For any questions, contact Rick Sapienza at resapien@ncsu.edu or 919-515-2788 (office)/ 919-332-4510 (cell).

Register for the Oct. 8 Concord event here, and register for the Oct. 9 Raleigh event here.

Six National Drive Electric Week Events This September

 

Join the NC Clean Energy Technology Center for National Drive Electric Week 2019! We will have six events located in Winston-Salem, Pittsboro and Raleigh, NC, including vehicle expos/tailgates, ride and drives, and driver meet-ups. Visit www.DriveElectricWeek.org to find an event near you!

Electric Vehicle Car Show & Tailgate, 4-6 p.m. Friday, September 13 in Winston-Salem, BB&T Field: Join us to kick off National Drive Electric Week at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem with a tailgate and plug-in electric vehicle car show at the Wake Forest Vs. UNC Chapel Hill football game!  Kick-off is at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 13. The vehicles will be located in front of the Bridger Field House.

(For game day on Friday, due to the congestion and traffic, if you do not have tickets for the game or parking arrangements, it is not advised that you come visit the plug-in electric vehicle show. )

Register here.

Driver Meet-Up, Car Show + Ride & Drive, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. September 14 in Winston-Salem, BB&T Field:  On Saturday, September 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., bring your plug-in vehicle to a driver meet-up, car show and ride and drive, which is open to the public. The vehicles will be located in the Gold Parking Lot across from Bridger Field House.

Register here.

Electric Vehicle Car Show + Ride & Drive on Thursday, September 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Join us for a car show and ride & drive at Venture Plaza on NC State University’s Centennial campus. For this lunchtime event, there will be food trucks, static EVs and PHEVs to look at as well as test-drive. If you are an owner, there will be room for up to 10 static vehicles for the static car show. Owners are also welcome to participate in the ride & drive portion of the event.

For those who just want to visit and are not part of the Centennial Campus community, pay public parking is available in front of the Hunt Library. This is the same venue as the spring 2019 Earth Day event and will be a similar setup. Come on out have lunch and learn about driving on electricity!

Register here.

Driver Meet-Up & Car Show on Friday, September 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Join us for a plug-in electric vehicle driver meet-up, car show, and ride & drive outside the Close-King Indoor practice facility at the corner of Westchase Boulevard and Peter Karmanos Jr. Drive, next to Carter Finley Stadium.  Bring your plug-in vehicle. Open to the public.

Register here.

Electric Vehicle Show & Tailgate on Saturday, September 21, time TBD: Join us for a tailgate and plug-in electric vehicle car show outside the Close-King Indoor practice facility at the corner of Westchase Boulevard and Peter Karmanos Jr. Drive, next to Carter-Finley Stadium. Come learn about electric, plug-in hybrid electric and hybrid electric vehicles, as well as register for a chance to win NC State University Football prizes!

(For game day on Saturday, due to congestion and traffic, if you do not have tickets for the game or parking arrangements, it is not advised that you come visit the plug-in electric vehicle show.)

Electric Vehicle Car Show at Pepperfest, Downtown Pittsboro, 3-6 p.m. Sunday, September 22: Join us at the 2019 Pepper Festival in Downtown Pittsboro to check out a display of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles, and talk to us to learn more about them.

Learn more and find an event near you at www.DriveElectricWeek.org!

Mobile CARE and NC Smart Fleet Awards announced

Awards Recognize Transportation Emission Reduction Efforts in North Carolina

The 13th annual North Carolina Mobile Clean Air Renewable Energy (CARE) awards and the NC Smart Fleet awards were announced as part of the 2019 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo held at the Durham Convention Center in Durham, N.C. The Mobile CARE and NC Smart Fleet awards are given by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC).

The Mobile CARE awards recognize transportation emission reduction efforts that are advancing alternative fuel and transportation technology activities in North Carolina. For Mobile CARE, candidates were sought in three main categories: Individual, Policy/Organization, and Fuel/Technology Providers.

This year, the judges selected Lisa Poger, North Carolina Electric Transportation Manager for Duke Energy for the Individual Award; Clean Air Carolina for the Organization Award; and Cummins for the Technology Provider Award.

N.C. Smart Fleet focuses on fleet commitment and accomplishments in reducing petroleum use, thus reducing CO2 emissions and other harmful emissions. North Carolina based fleets (both public and private sector) are recognized by the NCCETC as supporters, leaders or champions based on their sustainability practices.

The following organizations were recognized at the NC Smart Fleet awards event:

NC Smart Fleet ChampionsBuildSense, Inc.; City of CharlotteCity of DurhamCity of Greensboro Police DepartmentCity of Raleigh; Greenwood Propane; EPES TransportNCDOT Rail DivisionNorth Carolina Propane Gas AssociationOrange County, NCTown of CaryUniversity of North Carolina at Charlotte; and Warren Wilson College.

NC Smart Fleet LeadersDavidson CountyDurham CountyElizabeth City PoliceMacLeod ConstructionMEDIC Mecklenburg EMSPine Shore Energy; and Viatec Incorporated.

NC Smart Fleet SupportersAccesso Services, LLCAsheville-Buncombe Technical Community CollegeCity of GreensboroMatthews Police DepartmentPerson CountyTown of Apex; and Town of Pineville Police.

NC Smart Fleet Champions

NC Smart Fleet Leaders

Learn more here.

Alternative Fuels for Fleets: Propane with The Produce Box

Considering alternative fuels for your fleet? Learn more about propane!

We visited The Produce Box site in Raleigh, North Carolina, last year and talked to Founder Courtney Tellefsen about their fleet of propane vehicles. Check out our new video on it here!

The Produce Box, a produce delivery company in North Carolina, serves about 11,000 families across the state. The company has eight propane trucks, which they said they chose because they burn cleaner and save $20-30K in fuel a year. Propane is also a domestic fuel, as 90 percent of it comes from the US.

Learn more about The Produce Box at www.theproducebox.com.

Learn more about propane and if this option could be right for your fleet at cleantransportation.org.

Alternative Fuels for Fleets: Natural Gas With Waste Management

Considering alternative fuels for your fleet? Learn more about natural gas!

We visited a Waste Management site in North Carolina last year and talked to Project Manager Amanda Fairley about their fleet of natural gas vehicles. Check out our new video on it here!

Waste Management, a waste management, comprehensive waste, and environmental services company, has 21 million customers throughout North America, with 24,000 vehicles – 6,500 of which are compressed natural gas (CNG).

Whether produced via conventional or renewable methods, the advantages of natural gas as an alternative fuel include its domestic availability, established distribution network, relatively low cost, and emissions benefits, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Learn more about Waste Management and its fleet on the company’s website here. Learn more about natural gas and if this option could be right for your fleet at cleantransportation.org.

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