ECO-UNESCO is Ireland's environmental education and youth organisation affiliated to the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations (WFUCA).
ECO-UNESCO’s aims are:
to raise environmental awareness, understanding and knowledge of the environment among young people
to promote the protection and conservation of the environment
to promote the personal development of young people through practical environmental projects and activities.
to promote the ideals of UNESCO
ECO-UNESCO provides a wide range of programmes and services, which include:
Environmental Youth Programmes
See our website for more information.
About the Awards
What are the YEAs?
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 improve 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?
YEA 2021 Timeline
1st Sept 2020: Online Registration Opens
Oct 2020: Submissions open
Feb 2021: Registration Closes
Feb 2021: Project Submission Deadline
Mar-April 2021: ECO-Den Semi-Finals
May 2021: Showcase & Awards Ceremony
What can I enter?
Projects can be submitted under the following categories:
ECO-Art & Design
ECO-Health & Wellbeing
Click here to view last years finalist booklet, which contains all of the projects that made it through to the final
A YEA project requires:
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).
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;
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
For more information on each of the above steps, check our our '6 Steps to Success' Resource
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.