After much deliberation, the winners have been chosen for Rotary Young Environmentalist 2023.
Students from across the UK & Ireland submitted their projects earlier in the year, focussing on the theme of ‘biodiversity’. The young environmentalists interpreted the theme in a variety of different ways, impressing the judges of the competition, with projects ranging from social experiments to PowerPoint presentations.
Local heats were organised by Rotary clubs before the best projects were taken through to district heats and then finally to the national final where a panel of judges selected the winners.
The competition provides an opportunity for young people who care about the planet to engage with the environment and think of ways to address serious environmental issues.
Rotary Young Environmentalist is just one of many competitions that Rotary Great Britain and Ireland offer young people. You can find out more about the other youth competitions and how to apply here.
Here are the winners of Rotary Young Environmentalist 2023:
Junior Winners (Group) – Dalbeattie Primary School
The team of Scottish students made up of Isabella Docherty, Lucy Johnstone, Lucy Smith and Rory McCormick submitted the ongoing project they have been undertaking to increase the amount of birdlife on their school grounds.
The group successfully applied for £750 of funding which allowed them to organise a mass planting event followed by regular planting, including during lockdown when they undertook the planting in separate bubbles.
This project has successfully attracted a greater variety of birdlife to the school and the group have plans to encourage further biodiversity at Dalbeattie.
The judges of the national final commented that Dalbeattie Primary School’s submission was a “fascinating and well-written text showing the enterprise involved in stimulating all the children and activating the whole primary school and the parents.”
Junior Winner (Individual) – Joni Millington
Joni, who was nominated for the competition by the Rotary Club of Coventry, produced a video on why more biodiversity needs to be introduced to modern UK farmland and how she believes this can be achieved.
The video is a selection of curated images supporting Joni’s narration in which she argues that British farmers need to reintroduce more ‘wildlife corridors’, such as bonds or hedgerows, to open farmland so that animals can safely live in the countryside.
The judges commented that Joni’s project was “an impressive presentation by a 9 year old showing maturity beyond her age.”
Intermediate Winner (Group) – Sophia Hohnson, Sara Davies and Vanessa Pukl
Finally, Sophia Hohnson, Sara Davies and Vanessa Pukl, who were all nominated by The Rotary Club of Halifax Calder, organised a social experiment to see how aware people of different ages are of what biodiversity is and how it has changed.
This social experiment was made into a YouTube video that sees the three girls interviewing participants from different ages and backgrounds to see their perception of biodiversity and climate change.
The judges called Sophia, Sara and Vanessa’s project “an excellent video – perhaps the best in terms of what was actually done i.e. defining a project and actually executing via actual interviews.”