Test your environmental mettle in the NCW EcoChallenge

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Ride a bike, change a light bulb and maybe even change the way you live in the NCW EcoChallenge, a competition for Chelan and Douglas county residents May 13-26.

The contest encourages people to take small actions that collectively reduce our impact on the environment. Contestants compete for individual and team prizes, plus cash prizes for local nonprofit agencies.

Participants will challenge themselves to try new, environmentally-friendly behaviors for two weeks: bicycling to work, changing to LED bulbs, riding the bus, recycling, and eating local foods — to name just a few. They choose the behaviors they want to change from dozens of options on the EcoChallenge website, then report their actions daily online.

Climate Conversation NCW, a grassroots group devoted to climate change solutions, is the primary sponsor of the EcoChallenge. Carolyn Griffin-Bugert, spokesperson for the group, said the idea originated with a Portland contest held last fall. Several local residents participated to test it, then customized the contest for Chelan and Douglas counties.

“Local businesses have been really generous about donating prizes, which makes the contest that much more interesting and fun,” Griffin-Bugert said. The grand prize is an iPad.

A bigger prize, though, may be the good feeling you get from knowing you’re doing something good for the environment—and your community. “Sometimes global problems seem too overwhelming,” Griffin-Bugert said. “The EcoChallenge gives us ideas for simple and easy actions anyone can take right now that will benefit our community and the planet.  It’s a fun way to learn about climate change and how to reduce your carbon footprint.”

Other EcoChallenge sponsors are the Community Foundation of NCW, Chelan County PUD, Link Transit, Waste Management and Columbia Valley Community Health.

Teams are forming now in anticipation of the May 13 kickoff. For a list of prizes and how to register, visit the Community Foundation website (https://cfncw.org/ncwecochallenge/).