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Winners Announced for the 2020 Young Reporters for The Environment Competition

Keep New Zealand Beautiful is proud to announce the winners of the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) – Litter Less 2020 competition.

In its 26th 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 Keep New Zealand Beautiful on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Found in over 45 countries, with more than 360,000 young reporters, YRE gives young students the opportunity to be part of the solution by producing creative and engaging environmental journalism.

The YRE Litter Less Programme, of which the competition is a component of, is sponsored internationally by the Mars Wrigley Foundation. The goal of the programme is to reduce litter and affect long-term behaviour change among young people aged 11-25 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.

Corporate Affairs Manager for Mars New Zealand Hannah Van der Heyden said it’s exciting to see Kiwi students passionate about tackling plastic waste.
“Mars takes its responsibility for sustainable packaging seriously and globally we’re committed to using 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025. We won’t achieve this big goal alone, so it’s energising to see students using their voice to raise awareness of recycling and the challenges with plastic packaging.”

This year over 80 students from around New Zealand entered the competition. Students were asked to investigate an issue relating to reducing plastic waste, 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 New Zealand YRE Jury, which comprises of experts in the fields of journalism, photography and environmental sustainable development, held an online panel in the third week of September to review the submissions and determine the winners. Members of the jury included TV journalist and Keep New Zealand Beautiful Ambassador Melissa Chan-Green, environmental photographer Jacki Key, Creative Director of Media Studies at the University of Auckland Folko Boermans, and Corporate Affairs Manager at Mars New Zealand Hannah Van der Heyden.

Melissa Chan-Green, said “With all the disruption to schooling this year and the distraction all of us have been grappling with in our daily lives, it’s so heartening to see that students are still really engaged with thinking about the environment. There were some passionate reporters in the making among the entrants which is great to see.”

Previous YRE winners have gone on to win fully funded scholarships from FEE to attend international conferences and symposiums, such as Joanna Tao who received a scholarship to the UN 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand in 2018, and Joshua Richardson who was selected to represent New Zealand at a UNESCO forum in 2018.

The full list of YRE winners can be viewed here.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful is 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 Programme in 2021. Registrations open in November 2020 and close at the end of Term 1, 2021. For more information contact us.

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