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The Young Environmentalist Awards is Ireland’s biggest green awards scheme. The programme has been running since 1999, with the aim of encouraging young people to take action to protect the environment and raise awareness about the most pressing environmental issues that affect our planet both locally and globally. 


This year, 2019, the Young Environmentalist Awards programme celebrates its 20th anniversary and, to celebrate this important achievement, we are welcoming late registrations, in order to give the chance to as many young people as possible, to join ECO-UNESCO and other young people from all across Ireland in making a real environmental change. Register online here.


If you have never heard about YEA before or you still have some doubts, here you will be able to find some answer to the most common questions about the awards programme. 


What are the YEAs? 


The YEA is an all-Ireland environmental awards programme that recognises and rewards young people who raise environmental awareness and improve the environment. 


Over 43,000 young people have taken part in the YEA since it began, bringing about lasting change to the environment, and reaching countless others with awareness-raising campaigns in schools and communities throughout Ireland.


The YEA programme is a unique and fun opportunity for young people not only to build environmental awareness and promote local actions and lifestyle changes to improve the environment, but also to build a network within their community and develop new skills and knowledge.


Who can enter? 


ECO-UNESCO’s YEA programme is open to any group made of between 2 and 25 young people from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland aged 10 to 18.


Groups will be divided into three categories:


  • Super Junior Group: 10 to 12 years (non-category specific)
  • Junior Group: 12 to 14 years
  • Senior Groups: 15 to 18 years


When can I enter? 


Find below the YEA 2019 Timeline:


Sept 2018: Online Registration Opens

Sept-Oct 2018: Free YEA 6 Steps to Success Training

Nov 2018 – Mar 2019: Project Submission

1st Mar 2019: Project Submission Deadline / Registration Closes

Late Mar-April 2019: ECO-Den Semi-Finals

23rd May 2019: Showcase & Awards Ceremony at Convention Centre Dublin


Sign up to our mailing list to receive up-to-date information on upcoming deadlines.


How do the awards work? 


  1. Interested groups register online.
  2. Registered groups take part in free ‘6 Steps to Success’ regional training.
  3. Groups submit their ECO-Action projects.
  4. Internal judging panels assess all registered projects and create a shortlist.
  5. Shortlisted groups are invited to pitch their projects to a panel of expert regional judges at ECO-DENS.
  6.  Finalists showcase their project at YEA Gala Showcase and Awards Ceremony.


What can I enter?


See the projects that made it the finals in 2018 here.


Projects can be submitted under the following categories: 

  • Biodiversity
  • Climate Change
  • ECO-Art & Design
  • ECO-Community Development
  • ECO-Innovation
  • ECO-Community Development
  • ECO-Innovation
  • ECO-Health & Wellbeing
  • Energy
  • Waste
  • Water
  • Super Junior


 A YEA project requires:



We are looking to see that young people have taken action that preserves the environment in some way. Your project may already involve action but if it does not, you may like to consider adding this element to your project. For action ideas, see our YEA Project Manual (p. 49)  


We want to see that you have understood the environmental issue that your project addresses and that you have raised awareness about this issue in your school, local community or further afield. For more information on this, see our Programme Manual for more details.

Click here to view last year’s finalist booklet, which contains all of the projects that made it through to the final showcase.


How do I put my project together? 


To carry out your eco-action project, you will need to follow these steps:

Step 1. Put a Team Together

Step 2. Select an Environmental Issue

Step 3. Research

Step 4. Create an Action Plan

Step 5. Take Action!

Step 6. Raise Awareness

Step 7. Reflect


For more information on each of the above steps, click here.


What does ‘Take Action!’ mean? 


Taking action is an essential part of the Young Environmentalist Awards Programme, not only to demonstrate what you have learnt, but also to be empowered and inspire others to take action in the future. There are several kinds of actions, big or small, that can be taken, and you can choose to focus on one of them or mix them together, depending on your team timeline, budget and interests.


If you are unsure of what ‘taking action’ means, these are some ideas: 

  • Join an existing environmental campaign or create a new one;
  • Conduct a survey;
  • Create and sign a petition, join marches and rally or lobby;
  • Create a blog or a website;
  • Develop a workshop or a presentation;
  • Hold an exhibition or a school/community fair;
  • Organise a fundraising/awareness-raising event;
  • Organise a challenge;
  • Make a video diary;
  • Write letters to politicians or articles;
  • Organise a flash-mob;
  • Interviews; etc…


Can I use an existing project? 


Yes, you can use an existing project or even a project you previously present at the YEA and show you have developed it.  

Projects that have been entered to the YEA previously can be entered for a special ‘Further Growth Award’.


If you are planning to present an existing project, make sure you include in it the ‘Take Action’ and ‘Raise Awareness’ elements. 


How are projects graded?



See the marking structure here.



How do I submit my project? 


Learn more about how to submit your project here.


What resources are available? 


ECO-UNESCO offers free ‘6 Steps to Success’ training to teachers, youth leaders and young people on all they need to know about the Young Environmentalist Awards programme and how it can benefit young people. The training is designed to help young people become well-equipped to carry out their very own environmental action project and is especially worthwhile for teachers and students new to the programme. 


The training will provide support and advice in developing project ideas, exploring what is involved in project management and helping to understand the various phases of the YEA programme using interactive activities. The training will be delivered directly to your school/youth organisation/community centre.


Note: The YEA training is only available for the registered groups. Please register your interest first. Places are limited and they operate on a first come first served basis so book early to avoid disappointment!


Other resources: 

YEA Mannual

YEA 2018 Finalist Booklet


Couldn’t find the answer you were looking for? Contact us! Susie.spratt@ecounesco.ie