Pupils as bridge-builders: Young journalists honoured today in Warsaw

Awards presented for best articles written in 2007/2008 as part of the DBU project “Environment Builds Bridges”

The prize-winners of “Environment Builds Bridges” today received awards for their outstanding journalistic achievements in 2007/2008. The awards were presented in Warsaw by the State Secretary in the Polish Environment Ministry, Henry Jezierski, the manager of the Institut zur Objektivierung von Lern- und Prüfungsverfahren (IZOP), Peter Brand, and the Secretary General of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), Dr.-Ing. E. h. Fritz Brickwedde. The eight winning groups of pupils researched environmental topics in the region of their partner school and wrote articles about them for newspapers in their own country. Three of the groups come from Germany, and one each from Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Each group received 2,250 euros in prize money. Viktor Jedraszczyk, a pupil at the Rurtal Gymnasium in Düren, Germany, was rewarded for the best press photograph with 250 euros. The award presentation in the Polish Environment Ministry marks the end of the third and last year of the project, which the DBU has supported since 2005 with more than 2.2 million euros.

"Environment Builds Bridges": "beacon project"

“Environment Builds Bridges”: pupils interested in the project learnt journalism skills in study groups or school classes led by project teachers and journalists from the partner newspapers. During a subsequent school exchange, each group carried out research, like professional journalists, on an environmental topic in the partner country. They published the results of their research in articles in newspapers in their native countries. In Warsaw today, Dr.-Ing. E. h. Fritz Brickwedde described the scheme as a “beacon project”. He said that, during the current year of the project as well, “a large number of outstanding and remarkable newspaper articles” had been written “that convey many rather complicated environmental topics to the readers of the respective newspapers in a vivid and lively fashion.”

Around 3,400 school pupils from six European Union nations created around 380 newspaper pages to environmental projects

Co-operative partnerships between German and central and eastern European schools were the main focus of the project, which was run by the DBU and IZOP and launched in 2005 by German President Horst Köhler. It aimed to foster intercultural dialogue between eastern and western Europe, promote environmental education by means of journalistic research on the environment, create broad publicity in well-known newspapers and produce media competence for education in sustainable development. Over the past three years of the project, 68 schools – 34 of them from Germany – and 20 partner newspapers with a total circulation of around 2.8 million took part in this European project combining intercultural encounter, the environment and media. Around 3,400 school pupils aged from 16 to 18 from six European Union nations carried out exchange visits as part of the bilateral school partnership programme. All the pupils became familiar with environmental projects, carried out research and created around 380 newspaper pages. Dr.-Ing. E. h. Fritz Brickwedde said in summary that “Environment Builds Bridges” had been a success and received widespread recognition. Four state presidents – from Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary – and the environment ministers of Poland and the Czech Republic took on the patronage of the project, which is also an official project of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

Eight-person jury chose winners

The eight-person jury – which included the press officers of the embassies of the participating countries – chose the project groups from the following schools as winners: the II Liceum Ogólnokształcące from Gdańsk (Poland), the Gymnázium UDT Poprad (Slovakia), the Gimnazija Jesenice (Slovenia), the Gymnázium Jiřího Ortena from Kutná Hora (Czech Republic) and the Révai-Miklós-Gimnázium from Györ (Hungary). The jury also selected the pupils from the Couven Gymnasium in Aachen, the Rosenstein Gymnasium from Heubach in Baden Württemberg and the Helmholtz Gymnasium from Zweibrücken in Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany).

Presentation of all award-winning newspaper pages

All the award-winning newspaper pages were presented today in Warsaw and are available as PDF files at www.umwelt-baut-bruecken.de.

Presented the awards of “Environment Builds Bridges” in Warsaw today (back row): State Secretary in the Polish Environment Ministry, Henryk Jezierski (m.), Secretary General of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), Dr.-Ing. E. h. Fritz Brickwedde (l.), and manager of the Institut zur Objektivierung von Lern- und Prüfungsverfahren (IZOP), Peter Brand (r.). Amongst others, teachers (first row) Magrit Burger (l.) and Ewelina Lewandowska (r.) and their pupils Karol Hinz (l.) and Jacek Ciesla (r.) from the II Liceum Ogólnokształcącedie from Gdańsk (Poland) received the prize.
In decembre 2005 German President Horst Köhler started the DBU-project "Environment Builds Bridges" in Berlin together with school pupils from Westerstede, Münsterschwarzach, Györ (Hungary) und Wroclaw (Poland) and with DBU-chairman of the DBU`s board of advisors, Hubert Weinzierl (4.f.r.), DBU-Secretary General Dr.-Ing. E. h. Fritz Brickwedde (8.f.l.) and Peter Brand of the IZOP-Institut Aachen (6.f.r.).

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