An animatronic cow that explains how cow poop can help generate electricity has an electrifying new name -- Electra -- thanks to two students on opposite sides of the state.
Dillon Brigham, a student at Danville School, and Jared McGee, a student at West Rutland Elementary School, both submitted the winning name, Electra, in a Green Mountain Power contest to name the talking cow in Rutland's new Energy Innovation Center. More than 170 children across Vermont suggested names.
"The Greek name Electra means sparkling, shining, bright or radiant," GMP president and CEO Mary Powell said. "We loved the name, because GMP Cow Power is ultimately derived from the sun. The sun helps farmers grow food for their cows, which in turn produce the fuel for cow power generation."
Jared, age 8, said he chose the name Electra because of how it sounds. "I wanted to give her a girl's name that sounded like something to do with electricity," he said.
Dillon, age 9, said he came up with the name in a similar way. "I chose Electra for the cow's name because it reminded me of electricity," Dillon said.
For suggesting the winning name, chosen by a panel of GMP employees, Jared and Dillon won ice cream parties for their entire classes. Jared, who is in Kathy Turgeon's West Rutland third-grade class, toured the EIC recently with his classmates, who then feasted on Wilcox Dairy ice cream in GMP's Innovation Workshop, a glass classroom, meeting room and collaborative space within the EIC. Dillon, a student in Barbara Hawley's Danville fourth-grade class, also toured the facility and took part in the party, while his classmates in Danville enjoyed one at school at the same time.
Electra, a 7-foot-long talking cow built by the Imagination Company in Bethel, is the centerpiece of a Cow Power exhibit at the EIC. One of 12 exhibits, it is designed to engage young and old alike, and is already a visitor favorite.
"Electra is doing exactly what we hoped she would do -- engage visitors to help them learn about energy and the environment," said Steve Costello, GMP's vice president for energy innovation and customer service. "From young children to adults, she's helping make a complicated subject simple, and getting people to think not only about Cow Power, but other renewables as well."
Green Mountain Power's Energy Innovation Center is located at 68-70 Merchants Row in downtown Rutland. The EIC houses GMP's generation development and energy innovation team and related staff, as well as Efficiency Vermont and Neighborworks of Western Vermont staff, who are collaborating on customer-focused programs and ideas with GMP.
Teachers interested in scheduling a visit and tour of the EIC, which uses a variety of super-efficient technologies and on-site solar and wind generation, may email email@example.com.