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Fairfield Student Wins Big for 'Dreaming Green'

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Tommy Whiteley could end up saving the world one day, or at least a lot of polar bears. But for now, the Fairfield Country Day School seventh-grader will get to live out one of his dreams while being honored for thinking green. Whiteley recently won a nationwide contest for his idea to put artificial ice floes in the ocean to help polar bears cope with global warming.

The concept netted Whiteley the Grand Prize in the nationwide Dream Green contest, run by the Captain Planet Foundation and Rocket21, a social networking site. The competition asked kids to submit ideas for projects to help save the environment.

“We were all so impressed,” Christina Stevens, interim executive director of the  Captain Planet Foundation, said in a press release. “We received some really high level, innovative, completely out of the box ideas from so many young people.”

As ice caps melt and real ice chunks float away, polar bears often end up drowning while they swim long distances to dry land. Whiteley’s concept would place artificial islands in the Arctic Ocean for the endangered animals to rest on during their swims.

For winning the contest, Whiteley traveled to Atlanta Friday for the Captain Planet Foundation Gala. He’ll meet the organization’s founder, media mogul Ted Turner, as well as Oceanographer Sylvia Earle, Emmy Award-winning Animal Planet host Jeff Corwin and Grammy winner Alison Krauss. But Whiteley said he’s most excited about the location of the gala, the famous Georgia Aquarium.

“I have wanted to go to the Georgia Aquarium since I first learned about it, but then to be able to see it in person and meet all of these amazing people who also care about animals and the planet is just awesome," said Whiteley.

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