Cape club reaches out to reduce energy costs, world hunger

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Thanks to the generosity of an environmentally conscious group of teens, energy costs at the high school will be reduced and 10 families around the world have been given the tools they need to make food and clothing.

With the help of biology teacher Susan Guerrette, the high school Environmental Club helped raise money for a Heifer Project and bought VendingMisers that turn off vending machines when no one is nearby.

Heifer International helps struggling communities and families around the world learn how to make food and clothing from animals. With the gift of donated rabbits, bees, sheep, chickens or cows, people learn how to make honey, wool, milk or cheese, and eventually provide for themselves.

Guerrette said the group raised about $390, enough money to donate two colonies of bees, a goat, a pig, three groups of rabbits, a flock of chickens, a flock of ducks and a flock geese.

“In keeping with a theme of pay it forward, the families who accept a gift from the Heifer Project give one of their animal’s offspring to others,” she said. “To help 10 families means the giving grows exponentially.”

Senior and club President Emily Hollyday said the group was able to raise the nearly $650 to buy the vending misers by selling Sunrise Guides, a coupon and information book dedicated to sustainability.

With a sensor placed on top of the vending machine, the misers power down when there is no one nearby, Hollyday said.

Ross Sherman and Delaney Ratner, seniors and members of the club, said the miser cuts the electricity used by the machines in half, to a cost of about $150 a year. The units cost about $180 each, Guerrette said.

“Most programs take a long time – up to five years – to see results and changes,” Ratner said. “This is the first project we’ve completed that the savings are realized in the first year and conserves energy immediately. It’s nice to spend money on projects that pay for themselves.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or