What are the Young Environmentalist Awards?

ECO-UNESCO’s Young Environmentalist Awards (YEA) is an all-Ireland environmental awards programme that recognises and rewards young people who raise environmental awareness and improve the environment. 

Since 1999, ECO-UNESCO has run the YEA programme to honour the work of young people to protect, conserve and enhance the environment through local environmental projects, making a difference to their lives and the lives of others both locally and globally. Over 49,000 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 fun and exciting way to empower young people to become better citizens, to build awareness of environmental issues in the community and promote local actions and lifestyle changes to the environment.

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.
 

Who can enter?​

ECO-UNESCO’s Young Environmentalist Awards programme is open to any group of young people in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland from 10-18 years of age.

Super Junior Group: 10-12 years (non-category specific)

Junior Group: 12-14 years

Senior Group: 15-18 years

Young people are encouraged to enter their own group. A group can range 2-25 individuals.

When can I enter?

Registrations opening the 1st September 2020.

What can I enter?

Projects can be submitted under the following categories:

Biodiversity

Energy

Climate Change

Eco-health & well-being

Water

Eco-Art & Design

ECO-Innovation

Waste

ECO-Community Development

Local to Global & SDG Award

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

YEA project requirements

1. Action

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 Programme Manual (p.49).

2. Raising Awareness

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 the YEA Programme Manual for more details.

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 and much more!

How do I put a 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

Can I use an existing project?

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

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

What resources are available?

Please see the resources section of our website, where lots of useful tools are available.

How do I submit my project?

You will receive an online submission folder once you register your YEA project.