Students focused on local ecosystems and proposed solutions to help preserve, protect or repair those natural resources.
Ten finalist teams from seven states made it to the global nonprofit’s fifth Annual Youth Leadership Summit, held virtually August 6-8, for final judging to compete for three grants between $2,000 to $10,000 to turn their ideas into reality.
“The OurEcho Challenge inspires and empowers a new generation of young leaders,” said Philippe Cousteau, Jr., founder of EarthEcho International. “It turns a student’s passion for science, discovery and love of nature into action, supporting the diverse native species and habitats existing in their own communities.”
Aramco’s culture of environmental excellence and support for biodiversity with wildlife sanctuaries, coral reefs, mangrove trees and other native species coexisting alongside operating areas has earned it a reputation for prioritizing the importance of ecological habitats. The company’s Biodiversity Initiative is a pillar of our corporate citizenship efforts.
Participating as a competition judge was Ronald Loughland, Environmental Consultant, Environmental Protection Department (EPD), Saudi Aramco, who was impressed with ideas directly related to restoration and the technology applications.
“When judging the entries, I looked for an understanding of the issues and the team’s ability to come up with really practical solutions that could be implemented.” He added, “It’s nice to see young people thinking out-of-the-box.”
With team names like “Super Plants” or “Aquabotics” or “Swamp Stompers” creativity was apparent. Proposals addressed “supercharging” roots to help sequester carbon dioxide to combat climate change or designing autonomous robots to collect pond debris or propagating native plants to replace invasive species threatening a critical local bog habitat.