CHICAGO (May 4, 2009) - More than 100 students from Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy in West Humboldt Park got hands-on with the latest renewable energy technology at the charter school's second-annual Solar Celebration on Saturday, May 2. Exelon volunteers and The Field Museum demonstrated a renewable energy vehicle (REV) to give students an up-close look at an alternative fuel vehicle that can reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.
The event is part of Exelon and The Field Museum's "Take One Step" partnership, which provides museum visitors the opportunity to purchase $1 carbon credits to offset their carbon footprints. The $1 credits support development of renewable energy technologies, restoration of degraded habitats, and conservation of intact forests. Exelon is matching visitor participation up to $200,000 over three years to support the REV.
The REV is the newest addition to the Field Museum's outreach education fleet. Students and their families toured and interacted with the vehicle, which is powered by carbon-neutral vegetable oil and outfitted with solar panels to capture the sun's rays. The one-of-a-kind education vehicle also features a variety of green gadgets - including a pullout go-cart that runs on alternative fuels and solar-powered iPod deck.
"Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy opened in 2007 to provide an enhanced math and science curriculum to Chicago students and to foster their interest in a career path related to these subjects," said Helen Howes, Exelon vice president, environment, health & safety. "We are pleased that our partnership with The Field Museum gives educators new and hands-on ways to teach alternative energy choices."
Besides the REV, the Solar Celebration offered Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy students and their families the opportunity to build solar-powered mini-cars and hot-air balloons, calculate their carbon footprints, and learn how to make their homes more energy efficient.
Chicago-based Exelon is one of the nation's largest electric and gas utilities. Its Exelon 2020 strategy to address climate change set a goal of reducing, displacing or offsetting more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2020 - an amount greater the company's annual carbon footprint. Exelon recently announced that as of the end of 2008, it had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 35 percent from 2001 levels.
Beyond environmental causes, Exelon's corporate relations programs also focus on education, arts and culture, neighborhood development and diversity.