OurEcho Challenge - FAQs

2020 OURECHO CHALLENGE ENTRIES CURRENTLY CLOSED

Please note that due to the effects of the COVID-19 global health crisis, EarthEcho International reserves the right in its sole discretion to further modify the timing of the OurEcho Challenge and/or the format/timing of the Finalist Event. If such changes are deemed prudent, the new timing and/or format will be noted in the Official Rules and on this website.

Notices:
The entry submission deadline for the OurEcho Challenge has been extended to 11:59 PM EDT on April 21, 2020.
The OurEcho Challenge final event will take place virtually, August 6, 2020 during EarthEcho's 5th annual Youth Leadership Summit.

TUNE INTO THE OURCHO CHALLENGE FINAL EVENT - AUGUST 6TH, 5 PM (ET).

What is the OurEcho Challenge?

The OurEcho Challenge is a STEM innovation competition that empowers U.S. middle school students 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.

Does this cost anything?

There is no cost to submit an entry into the OurEcho Challenge.

If your team is selected as one of the top 10 finalist teams, you will be expected to continue work on your proposed project for a final presentation in Washington, DC, on Saturday, August 8, 2020. The 10 finalist teams will have from May - July to draft a final presentation and/or prototype of the proposed projects. During this development time period, each finalist team will receive a $500 stipend to help cover the cost of supplies and resources needed to create the final presentation and/or prototype.

Each team, and their mentor, will travel to Washington, DC, to join EarthEcho’s annual Youth Leadership Summit, during which the final OurEcho Challenge event will take place. Travel, meal and lodging expenses for team members and their mentor and will be covered by EarthEcho.

Am I required to use the resources in order to enter the OurEcho Challenge?

While we believe the supplemental resources to be helpful, they are not required to submit an entry to the OurEcho Challenge. The supplemental resources are free for anyone to use. Using these resources does not in any way bind you to submitting an entry into the OurEcho Challenge.

Who can enter the OurEcho Challenge?

Middle school students, grades 5 - 9 (ages 10 - 15), are welcome to enter the OurEcho Challenge. Students may enter in teams of 1-3 and must have an adult mentor, such as a teacher, submit the team entry online.

Can I enter the OurEcho Challenge if I live outside the United States?

The Contest is offered only within the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.

How many entries can a mentor submit?

There is no limit on the number of teams an educator/mentor can supervise. A mentor must be 21 years of age or older, a legal resident of the eligibility area, and an educator who provides direct instruction to students in a formal or informal setting at a public/private/home school, an afterschool club, a community program, a nonprofit organization, or other learning environment.

How many entries can a student submit?

Limit three (3) entries for which a particular student is one of the team members. Entries received in excess of this limit will be void. Students must be a legal resident of the eligibility area and attend school in Grade 5 - 9 during the entry period.

How many students can be on a team?

Students in teams of 1-3 may enter the OurEcho Challenge. All teams, including individual students, must be led by a teacher or adult mentor. Due to the age of the students eligible for the OurEcho Challenge, all entries must be completed by the lead teacher or adult mentor.

When will the OurEcho Challenge take place?

The OurEcho Challenge will be open for submission January 27 - April 21, 2020. The finalist teams will be selected and notified after May 4, 2020. The final ten (10) teams will then present their proposed solution/action plan in-person in Washington, DC, the weekend of August 7-9, 2020.

I submitted my OurEcho Challenge entry – what happens next?

The OurEcho Challenge will be open for submission January 27 - April 21, 2020. The finalist teams will be selected and notified after May 4, 2020. The final ten (10) teams will then present their proposed solution/action plan in-person in Washington, DC, the weekend of August 7-9, 2020.

When do I find out if my team is a finalist?

Ten (10) finalist teams will be chosen and notified after May 4, 2020.

How many finalists will be selected?

Ten (10) finalist teams will be selected and invited to compete in Washington, DC, for the $10,000 grand prize.

What happens if I am a finalist?

If your team is selected as one of the top 10 finalist teams, you will be expected to continue work on your proposed project for a final presentation in Washington, DC, on Saturday, August 8, 2020. The 10 finalist teams will have from May - July to draft a final presentation and/or prototype of the proposed projects. During this development time period, each finalist team will receive a $500 stipend to help cover the cost of supplies and resources needed to create the final presentation and/or prototype.

Each team, and their mentor, will travel to Washington, DC, to join EarthEcho’s annual Youth Leadership Summit, during which the final OurEcho Challenge event will take place. Travel, meal and lodging expenses for team members and their mentor and will be covered by EarthEcho. At the final event, each team will present their proof-of-concept presentation to compete for the winning prizes:

First Prize: $10,000.00
Second Prize: $5,000.00
Third Prize: $2,000.00.

Each grant check will be made payable to the school/organization associated with the winning entries, which the school/organization must make available for the team to use to support the biodiversity initiative described in their winning entry.

The top three (3) winning teams will be required to submit a budget, plan, and timeline for their use of the project grant funds, which will be subject to review and approval. Each winning team will also have to submit status updates to EarthEcho on their progress, as well as a brief final report on the progress and learnings achieved through use of the project grant funds.

What is the final event?

The final event will occur in connection with the EarthEcho Youth Leadership Summit in the Washington, DC, area. The final event will take place on Saturday, August 8, 2020, with travel dates on August 7 and August 9, 2020. Travel, meal and lodging expenses for team members and their mentor and will be covered by EarthEcho.

Each finalist team member and their mentor will travel to the final event where they will present their proof-of-concept presentation to compete for the winning prizes:

First Prize: $10,000.00
Second Prize: $5,000.00
Third Prize: $2,000.00.

What are other ways I can connect with EarthEcho International?

Be sure to connect with us via social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn the latest about our work and opportunities for young conservation leaders.

Still have questions? Please direct additional questions to ourechochallenge@earthecho.org or 202-350-3190.

Please note that due to the effects of the COVID-19 global health crisis, EarthEcho International reserves the right in its sole discretion to further modify the timing of the OurEcho Challenge and/or the format/timing of the Finalist Event. If such changes are deemed prudent, the new timing and/or format will be noted in the Official Rules and on this website.