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Eco-Schools are delighted that Sam Patterson has achieved double success with his first place in the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) National and the #yrestayshome competition. Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) is an award-winning programme coordinated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). The programme empowers young people to take an educated stand on environmental issues they feel strongly about and gives them a platform to articulate these issues through the media of writing, photography or video.

The 14-year-old Belfast resident impressed judges with his Litter Less Campaign article ‘The Natural Respirator’ which looked at our connection to nature and how people can damage it through lack of consideration of our environment.

Since he was a child, Sam has been a keen enthusiast for our environment which inspired him to take part in the YRE competition. At age seven, he was diagnosed with dyslexia, then at age nine he was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. This competition has allowed Sam to demonstrate his creativity and his passion for our nature. He is one of the growing number of younger environmental activists who are leading the way in raising the issues around the climate emergency and how as a people we need to be part of the solution.

Part of the Litter Less Campaign, the longest running school anti-litter campaign is funded by Mars Wrigley Foundation, run in Northern Ireland through the Eco-Schools programme.

Speaking about this achievement the Eco-Schools Project Officer, Dr. Francesca Di Palo said;

“We are delighted for Sam and his incredible double achievement. At such a young age he is demonstrating that everyone can play an important part in raising the issue of how we look after our environment. Sam has wowed all of us with his creativity and passion. On behalf of Eco-Schools, I want to congratulate him on this achievement and very much look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.”

Speaking about his experience of YRE, Sam Patterson said;

“I believed that the competition would be a good opportunity to learn about plastic pollution and develop my writing skills. In my mind success was highly unlikely but the enjoyment of participation was a great incentive in itself.”

For further information please contact:

Dr Francesca Di Palo (Eco-Schools Project Officer)

E: Francesca.DiPalo@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org