Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Idle Free Girls' honoured for driving home green message

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THEY'RE not old enough to drive, but that hasn't stopped a group of four Stonewall girls dubbed the "Idle Free Girls" from trying to tackle vehicle emissions.

The beaming 11-year-olds got top honours yesterday for their efforts to curb idling cars, and were dubbed the province's first "Climate Champions" on a newly unveiled website dedicated to fighting climate change.

The redesigned site of Climate Change Connection, a project of the Manitoba Eco-Network, is geared at educating Manitobans about the impact of climate change, and ways to reduce its effects.

"We really worked hard on providing practical solutions," said project manager Susan Lindsay.

Lindsay said the updated site, located at www.climatechangeconnection.org, now includes a thorough list of greenhouse gas reduction tips for businesses, individuals, municipalities and farmers.

"We are at the heart of climate change, for better or for worse," said geography professor and climatologist Danny Blair, on hand for the launch.

He said the main goal is to educate people about how to adapt to climate change and "deal with it in a responsible way."

Students Destiny Gulewich, Neely Swanson, Katelyn Morran and Rachel Perrella are listed as the website's first "Climate Champions" in a section that highlights greenhouse gas-cutting heroes.

The girls used their recesses to put together a presentation aimed at cutting down on idling vehicles, and later presented it to the Stonewall town council.

Thanks to the presentation, the town is now full of anti-idling signs, supplied by Climate Change Connection. The students are also preparing to share the message with other local groups.

"The town council said they thought this was probably the best presentation they've ever had, from any age," said the students' former grade five teacher, Kari Kinley.

"I think it's cool to help the environment," said Morran. "When we're older we don't want it to be all polluted."

Perrella said the presentation had one sure convert -- her mother.

"She said it totally inspired her," smiled the 11-year-old.

lindsey.wiebe@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 20, 2007 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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