A group of students from Pinelands Regional High School in Little Egg Harbor Township are scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama Monday at the annual White House Science Fair.

The students, members of the Pinelands Eco Scienteers, won first place in the national Siemen's We Can Change the World Challenge. The team also is a Jefferson Awards Innovation winner, Ecybermission national finalist and Christopher Columbus Awards gold medal winner, teacher Stephen Kubricki said.

The team, made up of Bridget Zarych, Mikaela Crowley, Christopher Naples and Kubricki’s son, Jon Kubricki, worked on a project focusing on developing a viable alternative to wood for places where it is the only way to cook meals.

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The project designed and tested presses that turn biowaste, such as “peanut shells, pine needles, banana peels, sugar cane waste and corn stalks,” into briquettes that would be used as an alternative to wood for fuel in underdeveloped countries with depleted forests, according to the Siemens Challenge website.

The team demonstrated the press at community events and raised almost $850 toward building and shipping the kits to orphanages in India, Benin, Ghana and Nigeria. The Siemens Challenge award included a shared $50,000 college scholarship.

“My team and I are at the hotel and getting ready to go out to dinner,” Kubricki said via email Sunday. “They leave early tomorrow at 7:30 to go to the White House to set up.”

The White House Science Fair can be viewed beginning at 11:30 a.m. today at www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/04/20/watch-live-2013-white-house-science-fair

Contact Steven Lemongello: 609-272-7275,

SLemongello@pressofac.com. Follow @SteveLemongello on Twitter

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