U.S. Joins International Effort to Promote Environmental Journalism to Today's Youth

NWF recruits middle and high school students to participate in annual competition

09-28-2012 // Mary Burnette
Woman in canoe with camera

As the United States host of the international Young Reporters for the Environment program, the National Wildlife Federation has started recruiting public, private and charter middle and high school students in the U.S. to participate in an annual competition that encourages and promotes youth environmental journalism.

The new Young Reporters for the Environment USA (YRE-USA) program is part of a rapidly-growing international network of international youth engaged in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).  It is coordinated by the Foundation for Environmental Education and currently operates in more than 25 countries.  The United States is one of the more recent countries to join this effort.

“This youth environmental journalism program helps to develop participants’ skills and knowledge, enhances communication and citizenship skills, individual initiative, team work, critical analysis, social responsibility, and leadership,” said Laura Hickey, Senior Director of Eco-Schools USA and YRE-USA for the National Wildlife Federation.

Students that participate in the program investigate a local environmental problem or issue, and propose solutions.  They document their work and report on it through a journalistic production targeting a local audience.  These journalistic efforts can be through the creation of an article, a photograph, a photographic essay, or a video which is then shared with a local audience through a variety of media.

The Young Reporters for the Environment program is both a national and an international competition.  Winning national entries compete against other countries’ entries for recognition and prizes, and both competitions utilize independent juries to make the winning selections. Full contest rules can be found on the YRE-USA website.

Teachers are encouraged to use YRE as a cross-curriculum tool to make learning more fun and to help students investigate relevant issues and create submissions developed in different subjects.  There are two age categories in the US-based YRE program:  13-15, and 16-18.  The first place article, photograph/photographic essay, and video from each category will be submitted to the international competition.

The YRE-USA website has suggested topics, definitions, links, and resources for budding young journalists, as well as information about the national and international competition.  Young Reporters for the Environment USA is a free program hosted by the National Wildlife Federation.

To learn more about YRE-USA or to register, go to www.yre-usa.org.

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