–Winning Student Teams from Hawai’i, Kentucky and Colorado

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — EarthEcho International, the global nonprofit dedicated to building a youth movement to protect and restore our ocean planet, today announced the three U.S. middle school teams selected as the Grand Prize winners of the OurEcho Challenge. The winning teams were part of an innovation competition designed to engage young problem solvers in protecting the diversity of species and ecosystems that make life on earth possible. The competition is made possible through the support of Aramco.

“The 2023 OurEcho Challenge grand prize winners impressed our judges with their in-depth knowledge of local biodiversity issues and their vision in developing viable solutions tailored to their communities,” said EarthEcho founder Philippe Cousteau, Jr. “We congratulate all of the finalist teams who participated in the Challenge and we know their passion and dedication will inspire others to take action for a sustainable future for all.” 

The OurEcho Challenge supports three grand prize winners that were selected from seven finalist teams competing for $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000 grants to further the work of their projects to protect and restore biodiversity in their communities.

The OurEcho Challenge U.S. winning teams are as follows:

  • $5,000 Grand Prize Winner
    Team Pono Popoki Project
    is working to save the Hawaiian coot, an endemic bird species that live in coastal wetlands. Feral cats have contributed to the downfall of more than 30 native Hawaiian bird species and now threaten the Hawaiian coot. To address this issue, the team plans to implement a humane capture, spay, and neuter program to address the immense feral cat population.
    Le Jardin Academy, Kailua, Hawai’i
  • $2,500 Grand Prize Winner
    Team Nocturnal Natives is addressing the steady decline of native bat populations in Kentucky. 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.
    West Jessamine High School, Nicholasville, Kentucky
  • $1,000 Grand Prize Winner
    Team Fungi Frogs is working to protect the northern leopard frogs from disease 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. The team plans to spread awareness of disease control while protecting the frogs during their reproductive cycles and beyond.
    Innovation Center, Longmont, Colorado

Follow EarthEcho on social to learn the People’s Choice Award winner later this week!

Team Pono Popoki Project, Team Nocturnal Natives, and Team Fungi Frogs were selected after presenting their projects virtually to a panel of expert judges and with the public virtually on May 25th during a Facebook live stream event. A panel of judges—including scientific experts from Aramco and the University of Florida, an educator from Gulf Reach Institute, and youth advocates from EarthEcho—reviewed presentations from the finalist teams and selected the three grand prize winners based on their projects’ vision, scientific rigor, feasibility, and the teams’ pitch.

The public voted for their favorite team projects during this year’s People’s Choice Awards learning more about each project from their Finalist videos.

The OurEcho Challenge equips U.S. and UK students, guided by an educator or mentor, to tackle the decline in biodiversity by identifying threats and proposing solutions to protect natural resources in their communities. For more information and updates about the OurEcho Challenge, visit

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For more information about EarthEcho International, visit

For more information about program sponsor Aramco, visit 

SOURCE EarthEcho International

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