**A previous version of story incorrectly stated that Canopy Scientific took the grand prize. The grand prize winner was Seal the Seasons.
Two months before globally renowned speakers took the stage at the annual statewide Emerging Issues Forum
, dozens of high school and college students rallied their classmates, friends and family to vote online for innovation projects that ranged from removing litter from waterways and urban bee-keeping to fighting bullying and encouraging health living. Other student-led teams entered a general innovation contest (without the voting) to win cash prizes to take their projects to the next level.
One high school team and four collegiate teams won prizes of $5,000 (for high school), $10,000 (two fan favorites) $25,000 and $50,000 Tuesday.
Here are the projects and videos of the winners:
SECU Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation
Grand Prize: Seal the Seasons, the brainchild of a pair of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students, collects blemished produce from farms and cuts the good parts into pieces which are then packaged, frozen and sold to consumers.
Runner up: Canopy Scientific of Duke University won $25,000 for its system and technology (satellite imagery and drones) to more effectively measure forest carbon for landowners seeking incentives for preserving forests on their land.
Fan Favorite: The Ellerbe Creek Litter Trap team from Duke Engineers for International Development hopes to develop a cost-effective trap to collect litter from creeks to prevent it from entering important water ways. The group begins with Durham's Ellerbe Creek.
Fan Favorite: FreshSpire is a mobile app designed to help grocers notify consumers when prices are marked down on food nearing expiration. The team of students from NC State University, the UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina University have a mission to eliminate food waste from grocery stores.
Emerging Issues High School Prize for Innovation
Winner: Bye-stander is a mobile app for students to discretely report bullying at school, by students at East Carteret High School.
And we're throwing in the North Carolina School of Science and Math too. It beat out a bunch of business and government entities to win the Spaces for Innovation Challenge. The video tells the very cool back story to the school's creation and the impact it has both on local students and those around the state and nation: