Philippe Cousteau’s EarthEcho International Invites Youth to Lead their Communities in Restoring Native Species and Ecosystems

STEM Contest for Students Ages 13-16 Includes up to $5,000 in Project Grants for the Winning Teams

Washington, DC (December 4, 2023) There is a growing movement of young environmental advocates dedicated to finding innovative solutions to protect and restore the diverse web of living things that makes life on Earth possible.

EarthEcho International, the global nonprofit founded on the belief that youth have the power to change our planet, is accepting United States submissions for the 2024 OurEcho Challenge beginning December 4, 2023. Now thru March 1, 2024, the OurEcho Challenge STEM competition empowers young people to take a closer look at biodiversity in their communities. Students ages 13-16, first identify threats to local ecosystems and then propose solutions to protect or repair those natural resources.

“The innovation, creativity and passion displayed by OurEcho Challenge teams over the past three years is truly inspiring,” said EarthEcho Chief Program Officer Stacey Rafalowski. “We are confident that this year’s applicants will build on this legacy of hope and ingenuity with projects that will move communities to protect the stunning diversity of species in their own backyards.”

Youth can work individually or in teams of up to three (3) peers to enter their proposal into the OurEcho Challenge. New for the Challenge this year: youth can submit entries directly without an adult teacher or mentor. Teachers, parents and other adult mentors are encouraged to provide support by utilizing the OurEcho Challenge resources in the classroom and at home.

In April 2024, EarthEcho will select finalist teams from the US pool of entries to compete for project grants to turn their ideas into reality. Top winning teams will receive grant awards of $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000 to implement their projects to protect biodiversity with the support of EarthEcho.

Please visit for full competition details, deadlines and resources.

The Importance of Biodiversity

Native animal and plant species are declining at an alarming rate. The future of our planet and our communities depends on healthy ecosystems with thriving, diverse wildlife populations. Recent studies underscore the need for innovative solutions and action now:

• 1 million animal and plant species are at risk of extinction.

• 75% of the land environment and some 66% of the marine environment have been “significantly altered by human actions.”

• Up to $577 billion in annual global crops are at risk from pollinator loss.

• Since 1970, 50% of the world’s wildlife has vanished, including 3 billion birds in North America alone.

• Recent research suggests that insect populations have declined by 40% globally, and one third are endangered.

*Sources: 2019 United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment, 2016 World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report, April 2019 Biological Conservation and 2019 AAAS Report led by Cornell Lab of Ornithology

For more information and updates about the OurEcho Challenge, visit or follow us on Facebook:, LinkedIn: and Instagram:

For more information about EarthEcho International, visit


Media Contact:

Bryan Hughes