Young Reporters Program Announces 2013 Winners

young_rep_08_black_notextNational Wildlife Federation’s Young Reporters for the Environment USA program is pleased to announce the winners of its inaugural environmental journalism competition. The Young Reporters program invites students to investigate an environmental issue in their community and report on it in writing, photography, or videography.

Students share their journalism pieces in their own communities. They also submit them to the Young Reporters competition for judging by a panel of jurors with a range of related expertise. The jury carefully reviewed each entry, provided helpful feedback to students on what made their pieces effective as well as suggestions for taking their work to the next level, and named winners for each media type in two age categories.

Young Reporters for the Environment USA is part of the international YRE program, which encompasses programs in 27 countries worldwide. Here in the United States, students between the ages of 13 and 18 participate. First place winners in our competition proceeded this week to the international competition for another round of judging.

The winning entries are as follows:

AGES 13-15


  • 1st Prize: “Emerald Ash Borer” by Eli Cason (Cuba Middle School, Cuba, MO)
  • Honorable Mention: “Pollution on the Meramec River” by Colten Barrett, Katie Wolfe, and Grace Steiger (Cuba Middle School, Cuba, MO)
  • Honorable Mention: “White Nose Syndrome” by Alyssa Hemby (Cuba Middle School, Cuba, MO)


  • 1st Prize: “The Buzz on the Bees” by Lexi Rockwell (Kingdom Builders Co-op, Savannah, GA)


  • 1st Prize: “A Tale of Two Trails” by Zachary Korff (Irving Middle School, Springfield, VA)

AGES 16-18


  • 1st Prize: “Saving Energy Through Lighting” by Trey Zimmerman and Zach Major (Kenton County Academies of Innovation and Technology, Edgewood, KY)
  • 2nd Prize: “Sustainability at ABRHS” by Denali Trimble, Dikshant Pradhan, and Kendall Butler (Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Acton, MA)
  • 3rd Prize: “Green Roof on the Kenton County Academies of Innovation and Technology Edgewood Campus” Building by Zack Fries and Marquea Schwing (Kenton County Academies of Innovation and Technology, Edgewood, KY)


  • 1st Prize: “Pollinator” by Matthew Carras (Vermont Academy, Saxtons River, VT)


  • “A Tale of Two Trails” (1st prize winner for video in the 13-15 years age category)

Young Reporters USA congratulates these students and all who submitted entries. We appreciate the time and energy they have dedicated to investigating important environmental issues and sharing the information they uncovered in writing, photo, and video. Balanced, objective, and solutions-oriented coverage of these issues is critical to protecting and restoring our communities and our planet. Young Reporters USA looks forward to expanding the program in years to come and helping more students hone their skills as environmental journalists.

For more about the Young Reporters USA program, including the criteria and schedule for the competition, see

For links to the winning entries and comments from the jury about what makes an effective piece of environmental journalism, please visit