Lexus eyes teens in sustainability drive

TORRANCE, CA: Lexus has begun an educational program and contest aimed at getting middle- and high-school students actively involved in improving the planet.

TORRANCE, CA: Lexus has begun an educational program and contest aimed at getting middle- and high-school students actively involved in improving the planet.

Developed in partnership with Scholastic and assisted by Ferris Communications, the Lexus Environmental Challenge provides teachers with environmentally themed lesson plans, integrated into class curriculums, said Nancy Hubbell, prestige communications manager at Lexus.

Teachers are urged to "take lesson plans to the next step," she said, and to help students participate in the "challenge" element.

Student teams are tasked with implementing environmental sustainability "action plans" to positively impact their own communities. Teams responsible for developing the most effective plans will share more than $1 million in scholarships.

PR efforts revolve around direct communications with teachers, said Ferris president Holly Ferris. Campaign components include outreach to print and online publications that target middle- and high-school educators.

The automaker also sent e-mail blasts to thousands of science and social-studies teachers, directing them to the Challenge Web site, www.scholastic.com/lexus.

Since its launch in September, more than 200 teens have signed up to participate, Hubbell said. The Challenge runs through April 22, 2008, which is Earth Day.

The event is "a unique way to appeal to a variety of audiences," Hubbell said. "It resonates with parents, kids, Lexus dealers, and the environmental community."

With three hybrid vehicles on the road, Lexus has taken an eco-friendly position within the luxury automobile market.

The Challenge offers "a great way to show what we're doing," Hubbell said. "It's a way of showcasing Lexus' commitment to the environment."

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