Six Halton District School Board students have placed in the top three in a national environmental journalism competition for writers, photographers and videographers aged 11-18 called Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE)
In the YRE EcoSchools Canada 2021 contest
, Julia and Dora, both Grade 8 students from W.H. Morden PS, won first place in the Article category while Ananya, Ira, Julia and Alyssa (all students in Virtual Secondary School) placed in the top three in the Photography category. YRE Canada is a national environmental education program that gives youth the opportunity to be part of the solution by producing creative and engaging environmental journalism. Participants (ages 11-14 and 15-18) investigate and report on environmental issues and propose solutions by using video, photography or writing.
Julia is honoured to have been chosen as a winner and proud that their hard work paid off.
“Every time someone congratulates us, I am reminded that I achieved something,” she says. “I recognize that our environment should be the top priority out of all global issues. We decided to write about medical waste because of its relevance at this time. It was an exciting topic that lacked attention.”
“This accomplishment means a lot to me because of all the time and hard work that was dedicated,” Dora says. “Especially at this time, we should pay more time towards the masks and other contaminated trash we throw away. I’m proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone and participating in this contest.”
In describing her photo (representing plastic and waste around a plant), Ananya says: “Plastics and other waste are damaging the sustainability of our biodiversity. Don’t let plastic decide our environment’s future.”
In describing her photo (showing a turtle digesting plastic), Ira says: “This is a visualization for children to understand the effects of water pollution. It is estimated that 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic waste are in our oceans. We can help these turtles by using less plastic. Start slowly by simply using reusable bags at the grocery store.”
In describing her photo (representing fish and plastics), Alyssa says: “This photo represents the ever growing amount of pollution in our oceans, and how it eventually will affect the livelihood of humans unless a global effort is made to stop it. We must make a larger effort to clean our oceans, reuse, and recycle.”
In describing her photo (representing a duck and plastics/poor water quality), Julia says: “Plastic pollution can be ingested by animals and cause the animal suffering, increased risk of disease and affect reproduction. Plastic pollution has become a global issue and requires big companies and individuals to take meaningful action. If you see trash in your local waterways, don't turn a blind eye.”
Says W.H. Morden PS teacher Connie Brownhill: "I hope students learned their voices are important and matter a great deal to our planet. I hope they understand that nothing will get accomplished unless we advocate for change and bring awareness to the issues facing our environment. Beyond this, I hope they realise the benefits of taking a risk and pursuing a goal, as this could result in a great achievement."