Young Reporters for the Environment Program Coordinators Gather in Turkey

Young Reporters for the Environment program directors (photo by Karolina Slowinska)
Kusadasi, Turkey was the location for the annual meeting of the international Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) program this February.

Two members of NWF’s Eco-Schools USA team had the privilege of attending, in preparation for launching the Young Reporters program in the United States in September 2012.

Young Reporters for the Environment, like Eco-Schools, is a program of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). It engages students in investigating an environmental issue relevant to their community and then reporting on it in writing, photography, or videography. Students’ work goes to a national competition, with winning entries progressing to the international level.

Participants from over 20 different countries shared information about their programs, some well established and some, like us, just beginning. We were inspired to hear about their innovative approaches. For example:

  • In Wales, reporters from the BBC serve on the national jury, raising the profile of the competition.
  • In Canada, winning students gain a position as a reporter-at-large for Environmental Defense Canada.
  • France has expanded its themes to include social and economic as well as environmental issues to incorporate the full breadth of education for sustainability.
  • In Portugal, students learn reporting techniques by covering the sustainability initiatives of a popular music festival.
  • Cyprus held an event at which young reporters interviewed a highly regarded politician about his work on behalf of the environment.
  • Kazakhstan brought students together with skilled journalists for an experience exchange.
  • In Slovakia, the Young Reporters program actually became its own news agency; the country lacked any environmental journalists, so students filled the gap, submitting their best work to public media.

Program directors at the Artemis Temple
In addition to sharing information about the YRE program, we enjoyed a taste of Turkey. Our Turkish hosts welcomed us warmly, and we admired a sweeping view of the Aegean coast and visited one of the seven wonders of the ancient world–the Temple of Artemis–among other fascinating cultural sites.

After connecting with fellow YRE coordinators from around the world and hearing about their successful endeavors, we are even more excited to bring this program to the U.S. soon!

To learn more about the international Young Reporters for the Environment program, click here.