The ‘Nature’s Rangers’ team from SMK Lopeng Tengah, Miri, Sarawak, came out tops in the recently concluded Toyota Eco Youth 2013 Challenge, beating second placed SMK (A) Wataniah, Machang, Kelantan and SM St Michael Penampang, Sabah. 15 schools took part.

The Toyota Eco Youth (TEY) programme, held for the 13th consecutive year, motivates participating schools towards a greener and cleaner lifestyle not only within school premises but also in their community. This year saw better project planning and strategic partnerships with stakeholders. Closer attention was paid to details such as getting media attention, keeping good records and rallying for support.

Winners were judged based on points from onsite judging, website/blog development, exhibition displays and presentation at the TEY convention. This system helped the students see a project in its entirety; from planning and idea development to implementation, marketing, vocal presentation and creative input.

2nd Place - SMK (A) Wataniah

The winning teams proved themselves to be a notch above the rest by not just pulling together a winning project but showing how much fun they had in the process. The ultimate purpose was to drive home the message that conservation can be fulfilling and rewarding, although it involves dealing with unpleasant things such as trash, clogged drains and trapped grease.

To score extra points, Nature’s Rangers made it a point to engage as many stakeholders as possible including the St Barnabas Church, the Miri City Council and local Environment Department. SMK (A) Wataniah Machang’s gotong-royong effort was not only covered by local newspapers, it also led to an MoU being signed between Felda Kemahang II and the local authorities to provide garbage services to the area.

3rd Place - SM St Michael

The third prize winners from Penampang turned their school recycling initiative into a green fund-raiser, and got the school involved with a fun mudball-making project. The mudballs were later thrown into a clogged monsoon drain, while an elementary grease trap was made using recycled materials to clean the drain. Their blog scooped the Best Website award.

When it comes to inculcating eco-consciousness and sustainability, starting them young is more effective than teaching old dogs new tricks – good job everyone!