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Keep New Zealand Beautiful (KNZB) are proud to announce the winners of the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) – Litter Less 2019 competition.

In its 25th year, YRE is a youth-led environmental programme which encourages students to focus on environmental issues relating to litter. The programme is facilitated in New Zealand by KNZB on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Found in over 42 countries, with more than 350,000 young reporters, YRE gives young people the opportunity to be part of the solution by producing creative and engaging environmental journalism.

The YRE Litter Less Campaign is sponsored internationally by the Mars Wrigley Company Foundation. The goal of the YRE Litter Less Programme is to reduce litter and affect long-term behaviour change among young people aged 11-18 years. It 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.

Victoria Hamilton, Corporate Affairs Manager for Mars New Zealand, said, “Mars is delighted to be involved with this initiative. The company, globally, is striving to meet a number of goals in its ‘Sustainable in a Generation’ plan. These include targets around climate action, water stewardship, land use and recyclable packaging”.

This year over 80 students from around New Zealand entered the competition. Students were asked to investigate an issue relating to litter, research a solution and then report on it using film, photography or writing. They were then required to disseminate their piece via available channels such as their school newsletter, in a class presentation or by contacting local media.

The NZ YRE Jury, which comprises of experts in the fields of journalism, photography and Environmental Sustainable Development, met at the Keep New Zealand Beautiful offices in the first week of September to review the submissions and determine the winners. Members of the jury included TV journalist and KNZB Ambassador Melissa Chan-Green, environmental photographer Jacki Key, Creative Director of Media Studies at University of Auckland Folko Boermans, and Corporate Affairs Manager at Mars NZ Victoria Hamilton.

Melissa Chan-Green, said “It’s always so encouraging to see students interested in the environment and the way we can all help to keep New Zealand beautiful. The YRE programme is also a great way to start thinking about the power of journalism to explore some of the issues we face. I congratulate everyone who took the time to enter and work on this project”.

The YRE National winners will receive a place in the National YRE Winners Workshop which will be held at The University of Auckland in November, as well as prizes from YRE sponsors Mars Wrigley Foundation, University of Auckland, Kathmandu, Ideal Cup, Go Bamboo, Lily Bee, Kai Carrier, Hoyts and Ecostore.

Previous YRE winners have gone on to win fully funded scholarships from FEE to international conferences and symposiums, such as Joanna Tao who received a scholarship to the UN 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand, and Joshua Richardson who was selected to represent New Zealand at a UNESCO forum.

The full list of YRE winners can be viewed on the KNZB website.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful are now taking expressions of interest from schools who would like to find out more about taking part in the Young Reporters For The Environment, Litter Less Campaign in 2020. Entries open in Term 1, 2020 and close in Term 3, 2020.

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