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Wind turbine challengers 'catch the breeze'

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Syl Kacapyr
Wind Turbine Challenge
Jason Koski/University Photography
Reese Mount, 10, and her mother, Valerie Jordan-Mount, fine-tune their entry in the Wind Turbine Challenge final judging at Cass Park, April 22.
Jason Koski/University Photography
A wind turbine made out of recycled materials.

Homemade wind turbines dotted the Ithaca Children's Garden at Cass Park April 22 for the final judging of the "Catch the Breeze Wind Turbine Challenge" competition.

Since the competition's March 10 kickoff, participants have designed and built wind turbines using inexpensive materials while applying basic physics principles. In the process, they learned how wind energy is converted into electrical energy.

Despite unseasonably cool conditions, the Earth Day judging drew close to 20 wind turbine entries.

"The judges and participants were real troopers," said Lora Hine, director of educational programs at the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-Based Sciences and Education (CLASSE), which hosted the event. "Everyone that did participate was remarkably enthusiastic!"

Children, families and adults were evaluated in several categories, including best use of recycled materials, most creative, strongest and fastest. Ribbons were awarded to 15 finalists, and certificates of participation went to all.

Judges included: Svante Myrick '09, mayor of Ithaca; Helene Schember, executive director of Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future; Gay Nicholson, executive director of Sustainable Tompkins; and Art Weaver, CEO of Renovus Energy. The event included many volunteers from the community and Cornell staff.

The winners were invited to exhibit their designs at Intertek's Small Wind Association of Testers 2012 Conference taking place at Cornell April 24-26.

The wind turbine challenge is a partnership between Cornell's Xraise, which is the outreach program of CLASSE, and the Ithaca Children's Garden.