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Student winners honored at Capitol for clean air project

Student winners honored at Capitol for clean air project


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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — At the end of last year, Luke Parker decided to do something about all the cars idling at Upland Terrace School in Millcreek.

Luke, 12, made a poster to remind parents to turn off their cars while waiting in the school parking lot. Every day, he'd look in the newspaper and update the poster to reflect the air quality that day, whether it was green, yellow or red.

He also walked around a few times a week to tell parents about the harm idling creates.

"Idling is bad, and it can hurt people a lot," Luke said, "like it can give people cancer and even (cause) inversions. They have less fun. … People stay inside during recess because of asthma."

Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, saw the sign one day and it sparked the idea to have a competition called Students Who Care About Air Clean Air Anti-Idling.

"I thought, 'How great he is at teaching others better habits,'" Arent said. "We need more Lukes."

Out of hundreds of entries, 19 projects — posters, videos and bumper stickers — were chosen as winners. The masterminds behind the winning projects, students in grades K-12, were honored at the Capitol on Monday.

Anika and Soren Hoechst, ages 8 and 6, created a stop-motion Lego movie to promote being idle-free.

"It was fun, and it's been really nice showing them that they can make a difference," said their mother, Nicole Hoechst.

The siblings from Ensign Elementary School said they learned idling can pollute the air. Anika said it can "make it hard to breathe if the air gets too dirty."

"I think students really care about cleaner air. It's a big issue for them," Arent said. "They're out playing in it. They know when they're told they can't come outside for recess. They get it. This is the world we're living in, so we want to leave them with cleaner air than they have today."

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Madeleine Brown

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