The OurEcho Challenge

The OurEcho Challenge is a STEM innovation competition that empowers U.S. middle school students (grades 5 - 9) to take a closer look at biodiversity in their communities. Students will first identify threats to local ecosystems and then propose solutions to help preserve, protect, or repair those natural resources. 

Why Biodiversity?

Like an echo, the impact of every living species resonates among all other life to create the balance on which we all rely. This interconnectivity of life is called biodiversity. From the majestic blue whale to the hardworking honeybee, the complex web of life we call biodiversity touches every inch of our planet, including our own backyards.  And now, more than ever, this life sustaining variety needs our help.

Recognizing that half of the world’s biodiversity has been destroyed since 1970, the OurEcho Challenge empowers and engages young problem solvers in understanding, respecting and protecting the important diversity of species essential to life.  Teams of middle school students, guided by an educator or mentor, are challenged to address the decline in biodiversity by identifying threats to natural resources in their communities and developing an innovative solution.

The Prizes

10 finalist teams joined EarthEcho International's 5th annual Youth Leadership Summit on August 6, 2020, where they virtually presented their ideas to restore or protect local biodiversity. The top three teams were awarded grants to turn their projects into a reality.


Grand Prize: $10,000


2nd Prize: $5,000


3rd Prize: $2,000

MEET the top three teams

EarthEcho is excited to announce the top three teams of the 2020 OurEcho Challenge:

1st Place & $10,000 -
Team Crayfish - Medea Creek Middle School (Oak Park, CA)

2nd Place & $5,000 -
Team Super Plants - Proof School (San Francisco, CA)

3rd Place & $2,000 -
Team Aquabotics - Bednarcik Junior High School (Aurora, IL)

Congratulations to all 10 of the OurEcho Challenge Finalist Teams!


EarthEcho International is proud and excited to introduce these dedicated emerging young leaders and their mentors who make up the final ten 2020 OurEcho Challenge teams. These young people have explored their communities, identified threats to local species, and have come up with plans to take action to protect biodiversity in their own backyards.

Team International Bird Hotel Developers - Brooks Middle School (Oak Park, IL)
Creating a variety of innovative habitats to attract native, migratory bird species to their local area.

Team Invasive Ivy Squad - Montessori Children's House (Redmond, WA)
Developing an invasive ivy removal plan, which will allow native plant species to thrive.

Team California Native Bees - Medea Creek Middle School (Oak Park, CA)
Restoring native bee populations by planting gardens that will attract the bees back to the community.

Team Prairie Protectors - Bednarcik Junior High School (Aurora, IL)
Developing plans for rain gardens to mitigate flooding problems while creating important habitats for a variety of plant and animal species.

Team Pollinator Paper - Bednarcik Junior High School (Aurora, IL)
Creating habitats for pollinators (e.g., bees, butterflies) by planting gardens in their community using specially designed seed paper greeting cards.

Team Swamp Stompers - Coventry Middle School (Akron, OH)
Propagating native plant species to replace the invasive species that threaten the native plants within critical bog habitats in Ohio.

Plastic Free NC’s Green Team - Love A Sea Turtle (Greenville, NC)
Designing "floating islands" to help increase habitats and biodiversity in local ponds, lakes and streams.

Team Crayfish - Medea Creek Middle School (Oak Park, CA)
Creating sustainable fishing practices for the removal of an invasive crayfish species.

Team Super Plants - Proof School (San Francisco, CA)
Creating community gardens filled with plants with "supercharged" roots to help sequester carbon dioxide to combat climate change.

Team Aquabotics - Bednarcik Junior High School (Aurora, IL)
Designing a robot to locate and collect debris in a local pond, with the ultimate goal of creating a network of autonomous, self-sustaining robots to keep water systems and oceans clean.

Sign up for 2021 OurEcho Challenge Updates