Winning entries for the 2022 Young Reporters for The Environment Competition announced

Nearly 150 entries by Kiwi students aged 11-25 on environmental issues

Keep New Zealand Beautiful is proud to announce the winners of the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) Litter Less national 2022 competition.

The annual competition empowers young people to take an educated stand on environmental issues they feel strongly about, giving them a platform to articulate these issues through the media of writing, photography or video. Now in its 28th year, the programme is run in 43 countries with more than 430,000 young reporters internationally taking part, helping to raise awareness on the issues of litter and waste and to affect long-term behaviour change amongst young people.

There were 146 entries from students across Aotearoa this year, each of which involved researching, chronicling and reporting on an environmental issue close to the students heart. The winning entries from students covered a diverse range of topics, including articles about biodiversity loss in Aotearoa, food waste, fast fashion, and the implications of single-use masks; photography essays illustrating the harm of litter; and videos about food recovery and taking climate action. See the full list of winners here.

In New Zealand, YRE is facilitated by Keep New Zealand Beautiful on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and the YRE Litter Less Programme – of which the competition is a component – is sponsored internationally by the Mars Wrigley Foundation.

The New Zealand YRE jury comprised of experts in the fields of journalism, photography and environmental sustainable development. The panel, which convened in early September to decide the winners, consisted of environmental photographer Jacki Key, Creative Director of Media Studies at the University of Auckland Folko Boermans, freelance journalist Adrian Hatwell and Mars New Zealand representatives, Henry Gibbs and James Keim.

Mr Gibbs said, “We want to send a heartfelt congratulations to all of those who had submitted content they had worked hard on, as we could certainly tell many of the students cared deeply on their topics.

“James [Keim] and I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon together reviewing all of the submissions on the big screen, which gave us an opportunity to be fully immersed and quite inspired by much of the content.”

“Being a judge for YRE is inspirational,” said jury member and renowned photographer Jacki Key, in reflecting on the quality of the YRE submissions. “I enjoy watching students developing into wonderful ambassadors for the environment. We can all, always, learn something from each other throughout life, and every year I learn something from the research and work of the YRE student entries.”

Mr Gibbs agreed, saying “it was a learning experience for us as well, and a good chance to hear about issues new and old from a global and local perspective.”

Alongside helping students to give voice to their environmental concerns, previous YRE competition 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’s 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 2022 competition winners can be viewed here.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful is now taking expressions of interest for the 2023 YRE Programme. To register, please contact education@knzb.org.nz.

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