2023 US OurEcho Challenge TEAMS

Congratulations to the TOP TeAMS

1st Place - $5,000: Team Pono Popoki Project
People's Choice Award Winners

Le Jardin Academy in Kailua, Hawai’i
This team is working to save the Hawaiian coot, an endemic bird species that live in coastal wetlands. From 1870 to 1930, the Hawaiian feral cat population contributed to the downfall of at least 30 native Hawaiian bird species. Today, feral cats continue to hunt bird populations, such as the Hawaiian coot. To address this issue, this team plans to implement a humane capture, spay, and neuter program to address the immense feral cat populations and also bring public awareness to the harm feral cats bring to wild animals, specifically birds.

2nd Place - $2,500: Team Nocturnal Natives

West Jessamine High School in Nicholasville, Kentucky
This team is addressing the steady decline of native bat populations in Kentucky. Bats eat insects like mosquitoes, moths, and beetles and Kentucky currently has 87 native insects listed as endangered or threatened. By bringing more native plants to the area, this team hopes to increase the population of insects, which in turn will provide more hearty food sources to the native bat species, such as the gray bat, the northern long-eared bat, and the Indiana bat.

3rd Place - $1,000: Team Fungi Frogs

Innovation Center in Longmont, Colorado
The goal of this team is to protect the northern leopard frogs from diseases such as chytrid fungus and ranavirus in hopes of maintaining biodiversity. The Northern Leopard Frog acts as an indicator species in Colorado habitats so the recent decline in their population is alarming. This team plans to spread awareness of disease control while protecting the frogs during their reproductive cycles and beyond.

Finalist teams

Team Bash the Trash

South Carolina Connections Academy in Gilbert, South Carolina
This team would like to place clean-up baskets at various stations along the beaches of Gilbert, South Carolina. to encourage people to clean up as they walk along the beach. The stations will provide educational signage and provide instructions on how to properly dispose of and recycle items found during cleanup walks. This project aims to protect beach habitats and animals unique to the Atlantic Ocean.

Team No Plastic, No Problem

Le Jardin Academy in Kailua, Hawai’i
This team is looking to tackle a major problem on their campus: single-use plastic. Starting at their school, the team will implement a plan to reduce the use of plastic containers and utensils, as these items are found littered on their campus. Le Jardin Academy is also home to a menagerie of animals (goats, ducks, chickens, turtles, and tortoises) that often mistake the plastic litter for food. In addition to reducing plastic around campus, the team will also work to create cleaner, larger, and safer spaces for the school’s animals to roam. Team No Plastic, No Problem hopes to inspire other students to take action to address plastic waste at their schools.

Team Ravenclaw

Charles DeWolf Middle School in Old Tappan, New Jersey
This team is hoping to address the increasing populations of the invasive spotted lanternflies in their community. Over the past decade, lanternflies have aggressively spread throughout New Jersey. This invasive insect is known to feed on 70 different types of plants and trees. By using insecticidal oil, this team hopes to eradicate the lanternfly in the hopes of saving countless native trees and plants from extinction.

Team VermiPlanet

George Washington Carver Middle School in Los Angeles, California
This team is working to integrate a compost area in their existing school campus garden to create nutrient-rich soil that can be used in their community. This team sees a lot of wasted food items on their campus and by creating a community compost they hope to recruit healthy bacteria to aid in food decomposition while returning nutrients back to the soil to grow healthy vegetables and fruits.

Meet the 2024 USA Winning Teams