Youth Discussion competition recognises Scotland’s eco champions

  17 June 2014
Issued on behalf of Scotland’s Environment Web Partnership

Young people from across Scotland are set to be rewarded today in recognition of their ideas to improve their local environment as part of the prize giving for the Scotland’s Environment Web Youth Discussion competition.

The event, being held at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, will see a total of 18 awards presented to groups and individuals in recognition of their outstanding entries. The awards, including the announcement of the two top prizes – £1000 to the Best Group entry and £100 to the Best Individual entry – will be presented by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse.

The Youth Discussion initiative was launched in September 2013 by Scotland’s Environment Web with the aim of stimulating interest amongst young people in all aspects of Scotland’s environment. Partner organisations in the fields of youth engagement, the environment and education came together to take the competition forward.

The competition specifically challenged young people between the ages of 5-18 to submit original and creative ideas to the question: “What needs to change in your local community that will make a difference to your environment and what role can you play in making it happen?” In response, a huge variety of videos, blogs, photographs, articles and pieces of art work were received and reviewed by judges, following which winners were shortlisted from across all age groups.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, said:

It is exciting to see young people from Portree to Pitlochry united in their passion and commitment to Scotland’s environment. The competition has shown a range of causes close to the hearts of our young people as well as a wealth of artistic talent.

“It is good to know that the entrants have recognised that we all have a responsibility to communicate why looking after Scotland’s environment is to the benefit of the health and wellbeing of all.”

Prior to the prize giving, youngsters will take part in lively, “green” themed workshops including hip-hop, graffiti and fruit juicing. An exhibition of all the entries will be on display throughout the event, including a chance for the audience of young people to vote on some of the important environmental topics of the day.

Prizes and certificates will then be presented by Louise MacDonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot and James Curran, Chief Executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, before a question and answer panel discussion involving Mr. Wheelhouse, representatives from SEPA, Young Scot, and members of the judging panel.
Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group played an active role by asking their members to sponsor prizes for the competition and a selection of fun days out, work shadowing and other opportunities were offered.

James Curran, Chief Executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said:

By challenging our younger generations to think about the environment and what matters to them, the competition has brought about some truly inspiring and creative entries which highlight key environmental issues for the future. The awards being presented today not only recognise each entrants achievement as Scotland’s eco champions, but will hopefully encourage more young people to have an active role in protecting and improving our natural environment.”

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said:

It is fantastic to see all the school finalists are registered with Eco-Schools Scotland and the quality of entry reflects that 75% have our prestigious Green flag accreditation. The senior finalists all competed in Scotland’s Environment Web Youth Discussion and KSB’s Young Reporters for the Environment Competition, which shows the natural synergy between these important youth advocacy programmes.”

Robyn Haggis, Programme Manager for the 2050 Climate Group, said:

I am thrilled to have been a judge for the Youth Discussion on the Environment competition and to have been a part of creating a space for young people in Scotland to have a voice on environmental issues that matter to them. I feel privileged to have seen all of the fantastic entries and inspired to see just how outstanding young people are in Scotland and the passion they have for the environment. The entries for both the individual and group categories were creative, well-articulated and in many cases innovative in their ideas for how to create a more sustainable future. This event is one key part of creating a platform from which the future generations can have their say and help create a sustainable and fair future for all. I hope that other young people across Scotland will feel encouraged, empowered and inspired to take positive action on climate change in the future.”


Notes to editors

Youth Discussion competition - Winners & runners-up

Group 5-7

  • Winner: Primary 3W & 3L, Riverside Primary School, Stirling. Title “P3 Riverside – Biodiversity matters” (entry no: 10111)
  • Runner up: Primary 3a, Holy Family Primary School, Kirkintilloch. Title “Keeping our local environment clean- our canal walk.” (entry no: 10222)

Individual 5-7

  • Winner: Maria Stewart, St Maria Goretti Primary, Glasgow. Title“Rats, rubbish & smelly bins” (entry no 10104A)
  • Runner up: Ruby, p3, Ben Wyvis Primary School, Conon Bridge. Title “Red squirrels” (entry no 10208A)

Group 8-10

  • Winner: p5/6, St. Thomas’ Primary School, Arbroath. Title“Agents of Change at work in Arbroath”. (entry no 10300)£1000 OVERALL BEST GROUP WINNER
  • Runner up: P7, Melrose Primary School. Title “Litter free TV”(entry no 10110G)

Individual 8-10

  • Winner: Connel Laing, Moray, Title “Speyside green for go”(entry no 10117) £100 OVERALL BEST INDIVIDUAL WINNER
  • Runner up: Dominic Snellgrove, St. Dominic’s RCPS, Crieff, Title “To set things right” (entry no 10138)

Group 11-14

  • Winner: S3, Kirkland High School & Community College, Methil. Title “Diggin it @ Kirkland” (entry no 10119)
  • Runner up: Eco elective, Auchmuty High School, Glenrothes. Title “Save the planet” (entry no 10031)

Individual 11-14

  • Winner: Holly Turner, Dunblane. Title “A day in the life of an S1 pupil: 19th May 2050” (entry no 10200)
  • Runner up: Emily Gray, Inverurie. Title “What needs to change”(entry no 10044)

Group 15-18

  • Winner: Hamilton Grammar. Title “Taking the message to the community” (entry no 25743)
  • Runner up: Loudon Academy, Galston. Title “Smart app for paperless school” (entry no 28386)

Individual 15-18

  • Winner: Eirinn Kemp, Mackie Academy, Stonehaven. Title “Plastic bag solutions” (entry no 26305)
  • Runner up: Sandra Sunny, Hazlehead Academy, Aberdeen. Title “Haste to reduce waste” (entry no 10221)

All entries to the Youth Discussion competition can be view at

Youth discussion

The youth discussion was launched in September 2013 with the aim of generating substantial interest amongst young people in Scotland. The key question posed to them was “What do you think about what needs to change in your local community that will make a difference to your environment and what role you can play in making it happen”?

To stimulate debate around this question, a range of activities were carried out including an interactive online meeting for schools held in November 2013, briefing materials on a range of environmental topics were produced and published on Scotland’s Environment Website to aid classroom discussions, all schools and local authority education departments were personally contacted to highlight the project, articles were placed in relevant online magazines and social media was utilised.

The youth discussion continues to be supported by SEPA, Education Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Young Reporters for the Environment, Young Scot and Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group.

Scotland’s Environment Web

SEPA manages the Scotland's Environment Web project on behalf of a partnership of key environmental organisations in Scotland.

Scotland’s Environment Website, which offers a range of benefits to both the general public and environmental experts by providing:

  • A trusted source of data and information on Scotland’s environment.
  • A gateway to help search, find and access data and information, avoiding the need to search multiple different web sites.
  • Users will get a single and authoritative view of Scotland’s environment in the one place – with the ability to view, analyse and interpret multiple data sets, published by a range of different organisations.
  • The ability to search and view environmental data at different scales – from the whole of Scotland right down to your local authority area and postcode.

SEPA has received funding support from the European Commission LIFE+ funding programme to support the delivery of a range of multi-agency collaborative initiatives that will provide a trusted gateway to data and information about the environment, and involve Scotland's citizens in discussion, monitoring and action to protect and improve the environment.

More information on Scotland’s Environment Web