The Learning Barn’s KidWind team is seeking sponsors as they work toward qualifying for National KidWind Challenge this spring. The team finished sixth nationally in last year’s challenge.

The Learning Barn’s team of Botetourt County student engineers has registered for another season of KidWind.

As the team members modify the performance of their small-scale wind turbine for maximum electricity production, they are seeking sponsors from the community.

The team is anxious to improve upon their sixth place finish and Judges’ Award earned at the National KidWind Challenge last spring.  “These honors have introduced them to exciting new opportunities for our community,” Learning Barn instructor Wendy Grimshaw said.

In late February, the team members were invited to speak at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Power on Capitol Hill Rally in Washington, D.C. where they addressed an audience of over 400 to share their perspectives on wind energy initiatives (see  March 1 Fincastle Herald).

During the rally, the team networked with several US Congressmen and executives from major energy companies including BP, Siemens Energy, Apex and TPI Composites.

“They quickly learned that these officials are a driving force behind the creation of 100,000 new manufacturing, installation, maintenance and support systems jobs in rural and agricultural regions of our country that are much like southwest Virginia,” Grimshaw said.

The team also met with Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s Energy Policy Advisor Angela Inglette to discuss the KidWind experience and the potential for careers in wind energy.

“Our team members now have a new appreciation for the real-world connections to STEM learning in their respective schools, and for the potential to develop some of the anticipated 600,000 new wind energy jobs right here in the greater Roanoke Valley,” Grimshaw added.

A successful showing during the next phase of competition—the Regional KidWind Challenge at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College on April 8—will ensure their goal of an invitation to this year’s AWEA National KidWind Challenge in Anaheim, Calif.

“We are currently seeking funding for design-and-build supplies, presentation materials and travel,” Grimshaw said. To contribute to the students’ continued learning efforts, visit the team’s GoFundMe site at botetourt-kidwind-team.