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Young Reporters for the Environment

Through Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE), students ages 11-25 join an international network of young reporters in over 30 countries around the world to investigate environmental issues and propose solutions through journalism, using strategies in writing, photography, and videography to tell their story.

Learn how to join the 2020 competition!



About the Program

Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) aims to empower young people to take a stand on environmental issues they feel strongly about and to give them a platform to articulate these issues through the media of writing, photography, or video. The program includes an annual competition [3.1.4.1] and a curriculum component.

Witnessing the global change of the environment, Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) originated in France in 1991, during an international youth mission to Kiruna (Sweden). The mission was to understand ozone layer depletion and explain the problem to a larger public audience. The ozone layer problem revealed complexity of environmental issues and how essential it is to explain that basic local behavior can be responsible for global problems. To deal with this issue, a program using journalistic investigation and reportage was identified as a powerful tool to motivate global youth: tomorrow’s leaders. Since 1997, the program has been managed by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Today we have 70,000+ students and 7,500+ teachers in 31 countries (and counting) involved in the program.

In communities across the nation, you'll find countless issues that impact the natural environment and, along with it, human health and well-being. By developing and sharing stories, students can help political leaders and community members understand what is at stake and what solutions are available.

By participating in YRE-USA, students will gain valuable academic and career skills in the following areas:

  • Experience in analyzing and understanding environmental issues from different perspectives.
  • A chance to explore personal interests and talents. You may find that environmental journalism is something you'd like to pursue beyond the competition, perhaps in college or even as a career.
  • By submitting entries to the competition, students will be in the running for national, and potentially international, recognition.
  • Most importantly, students will have an opportunity to speak truth to power, discern fact from opinion, and use their voice to shed light on important local issues and provoke meaningful discussions, possibly leading to community-based action or change.

YRE-USA can be utilized in many different settings, such as English and journalism classes and after-school clubs, to:

  • Increase literacy and communication skills.
  • Develop deeper understanding within the academic core subjects: the language arts, math, science, and social studies.
  • Empower students to make informed decisions and take actions on real-life sustainability issues.
  • Encourage students to actively collaborate and involve their communities in finding solutions.
  • Challenge students to examine their assumptions, knowledge, and experiences in order to develop critical systems thinking, and be open to change and mindful of cultural practices.

Resources

The following resources will help students hone their skills as an environmental journalist. Students may use them to get the information needed to craft a high-quality piece of writing, photography, or videography—one they'll be proud to present both to their community and submit to the Young Reporters competition.

Whatever issue is chosen, students should be able to say:

  • YES! The issue is related to the environment and/or sustainability. It has implications that affect the well-being of the planet and its people.
  • YES! The issue is important in my community. While it might be a global problem, it has direct implications in the place where I live. I'll be able to investigate it firsthand and share the information I uncover with the people who live here.
  • YES! I am passionate about this issue. This is something I care about and that is interesting and meaningful to me. I am eager to learn more about it and do something to help solve it.

Young Reporters for the Environment should be well-versed in the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals. Student will be required to develop their work around an Eco-Schools USA pathway as well as a supporting Global Goal.

For ideas on how to structure your piece, you may want to look at examples of successful environmental journalism. Visit YRE.global to see winning articles, photos, and videos from previous years of the competition.

At YRE.global, students will also find handbooks for students and teachers for writing, photography, and videography. Take a look at some YRE video tutorials for helpful tips:



In addition to the videos above, YRE-USA has shared additional resources on Google. These resources will engage students more deeply in learning and preparation associated with the YRE methodology: (1) Identifying a local issue, (2) conducting research, field investigations, and interviews, (3) suggesting solutions, (4) developing a high quality product, and (5) dissemination.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 national competition: