Ranger Rick is now available for all ages!

Requirements to Participate in YRE-USA

Photographer silhouette
Youth between the ages of 13 and 21 may submit entries to the YRE-USA competition. Participants enter in one of two age categories: 13-15, 16-18, or 19-21. The category is determined by the participant’s age on the day the entry is submitted to the national competition.

It is possible to participate as an individual or as part of a class or group. Submissions may be authored by an individual student or a group of students working together. Participants may submit more than one piece to the competition. 

Pieces must be entered into a single category (article, photo, or video). However, if a group of students wishes to work on a topic together and incorporate several media types, it is possible to include photos in an article, or to submit both an article and a video on the same topic, for example.

In the event that students working together on a group project fall into both age categories, the entry will be judged in the elder category. 


In order for an entry to qualify for the YRE-USA competition, participants must follow the steps below.

Investigate a local issue that relates to the environment/sustainability.
  • Identify, define and articulate a local environmental or sustainability issue.
  • Investigate (look up, compare, interpret, evaluate) relevant information from both primary and secondary sources.
  • Identify key individuals and groups involved, their different perspectives on the issue, their approaches to resolve it and their underlying assumptions and goals.
  • Conduct original research, such as surveys, questionnaires or interviews of key individuals or groups to obtain first-hand information.
  • Cover relevant historical, economic, social and/or political implications and possible consequences of the issue.
  • Link the local issue to the bigger global picture.


Propose possible solutions to the issue.
  • Identify solution(s) to the issue and evaluate the likely effectiveness, giving reasons for and against (pros and cons).
  • Recommend a solution, giving justification for it.


Report on the issue and its possible solution through a journalistic production to local audience.
  • Identify the target audience and choose the best way to reach and communicate with them (i.e., which media does this audience read/watch).
  • Plan how to report on the issue and choose the appropriate journalistic format and style.
  • Create an article, photograph(s) or video to document the issue and recommended solution.
  • Take a positive approach to inspiring change and finding a solution. 
  • Disseminate this work to a local audience through chosen media(s), e.g. newspaper, magazine, radio, television, social media, exhibition, film shows, and/or local events.



All submissions must include:

1. The name of the author(s).
2. Their age(s) on the day of submission to the YRE-USA competition.
3. The name of their registered school or group.
4. Their country of residence.


  • Articles must not exceed 1,000 words. They may include illustrations and photographs. The source of all non-original illustrations must be given.
  • A title of not more than 140 characters (20 words) is recommended, for compatibility with Twitter.
  • A maximum of three pictures are allowed with accompanying captions not to exceed 20 words for each image.
Technical Specifications: Article text must be sent digitally as a .pdf. Any accompanying pictures must be sent using one of the formats found under the photographic guidelines below.


  • You may submit either a single photograph.
  • Photographic entries must be either tell a story, or if it's a reflection piece, the text attached to the photograph must make sense in relation to the photograph.
  • The title must be no more than 140 characters and a short caption of no more than 150 words explaining the link with environmental sustainability and/or a solution to the problem/issue.
Technical Specifications: Photographs must be submitted digitally in .jpg, .png, .tif, .gif or .pdf format, with a resolution of not less than 150-300 dpi.


  • Videos must be no more than 3 minutes long.
  • Accepted formats: documentary or reporter/interview style (recommended) or public service announcement (PSA)
  • A video must be accompanied by a title (no more than 140 characters).
Technical Specifications: The format must be compatible with YouTube, i.e.:
  • WebM files - Vp8 video codec and Vorbis Audio codecs
  • .MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files - Typically supporting h264, mpeg4 video codecs, and AAC audio codec
  • .AVI - Many cameras output this format - typically the video codec is MJPEG and audio is PCM
  • .MPEGPS - Typically supporting MPEG2 video codec and MP2 audio
  • .WMV
  • .FLV - Adobe-FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio

Dissemination to Local Audience

YRE pieces are meant to be targeted to a local audience. They should draw attention to a local issue, provoke conversation around it, and lead the community toward a positive resolution. 

The YRE competition is a way for authors to earn recognition for this work, but should not be the purpose for creating it. To ensure that this goal is met, each submission must be accompanied by an explanation of how it was disseminated to a local audience. Where was it published, exhibited, shown or broadcast? Why was this audience chosen? What was the reaction and the result? 

For example, you might have your article published in a local newspaper and then send a link to the online version to your Facebook contacts. You could then summarize the online commentary it generated, and note if it spurred any further action on the issue. 

You should be prepared to include this information when you submit your entry.

New YRE International Collaboration Opportunity

Group YRE 

New this year, youth can choose to collaborate and jointly submit an article in the Sustainable Consumption and Production category. Learn more.

Green Your School