My Guardian Challenge 2023 Contest Already Has Winners in Costa Rica

    Eco-challenges for Tico students to become environmentally conscience

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     Students, families and schools positively impacted the environment by taking on one eco-challenge at a timeWithin the framework of My Guardian Challenge 2023, participants planted 1,763 native trees, promoted 86 orchards and 81 gardens for pollinators in schools and homes.  They also collected 1,836 kilograms of recoverable waste.The winners were awarded computers, compost bins and desks, among others.

     Santiago Mena Arce lives in Heredia and at just 12 years old, he has a firm conviction about the reason for participating in the My Guardian Challenge 2023 contest: “I love being a Guardian of Nature.”

     In its fourth edition, the My Guardian Challenge 2023 contest sought to add new guardians of nature like Mena, thus contributing to the strengthening of a movement aimed at promoting a culture friendly to our planet.  This movement begins in homes and extends to educational centers.

     My Guardian Challenge 2023 was organized by the Ministry of Public Education (MEP), the Nature Guardians Movement and the Dos Pinos Milk Producers Cooperative.  In addition, it was sponsored by Tetra Pak and co-sponsored by MilenioTres, Dorada de La Bajura, ESPH, Florex, Accenture, HuertoOrgánico and the Transition towards an Urban Green Economy (TEVU) project of the Organization for Tropical Studies (OET). and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

     For three months, participants could select one or several eco challenges from a list of 10 options, which they had to execute and support with evidence.  This is how some turned to art to raise awareness, others dedicated themselves to waste management and composting, they also took on the task of creating an orchard or pollinator garden, as well as organizing community cleaning days or planting trees, among other actions. .

     Thanks to these efforts, and during that period of time, 1,763 native trees were planted.  86 orchards and 81 gardens for pollinators in schools and homes were also promoted.  One of the greatest impacts of the contest was on the issue of waste: 1,836 kilograms of recoverable waste were collected in homes and educational centers, as well as 396 kilograms during community cleanups.

     Although children and young people are the most enthusiastic about participating, the truth is that the entire family ends up involved in the eco challenges.  “All contributions, no matter how small they may be in the regeneration of the planet, mean a great change that positively impacts the environment and, therefore, nature, which is why we must be guardians of nature and that is what I am.  That inspired me to participate in this challenge,” commented SheilynArce Moreira, who participated in My Guardian Challenge 2023 in the family category.

     In fact, 85% of participants expressed that the contest significantly influenced their perception of the environment, and 84% stated that it strengthened their values ​​related to sustainable development.  Additionally, 42% admitted to adopting new green habits, behaviors or actions, while 37% attributed them directly to the contest.

     Now, the winners!

    The jury was made up of eight people representing the MEP, Dos Pinos, Tetra Pak, Guardianes de la Naturaleza, UNDP-OET, Accenture and ESPH, as well as the child AnyendallChavarría who is an ambassador for the Guardians of Nature Movement.

     Among other prizes, schools will receive desks made with Tetra material, donated by Dos Pinos.  “It is a pleasure to be able to collaborate with this type of activities every year, which allow us to raise awareness about the importance of the environment and education,” said Luis Mastroeni, Director of Corporate Relations at Dos Pinos.

     In the individual category, the jury recognized José Alfaro (11 years old, San Ramón), Brianna Carvajal (9 years old, Pérez Zeledón) and Axel Valdez (7 years old, San Carlos);  while in the family category the Sánchez Mata from Sarapiquí, the Cordero Ureña and the Calderón Vargas, both from Pérez Zeledón, were the winners.

    Thanks to the sale of cocoa, the Chinchilla Pérez family (Buenos Aires de Puntarenas) was one of the winners in the entrepreneurship category together with the Corredores Professional Technical College, which was dedicated to the sale of vegetables free of agrochemicals.

     In the category of educational centers, the winners were the La Joya School in Desamparados, the Rafael Vargas Quirós School in Tibás and the La Boca del Monte Ecological Educational Center in San Rafael de Heredia.

     Other notable educational centers were the Zapotal Indigenous School (Buenos Aires, Puntarenas), Nueva Esperanza Bilingual Educational Complex (Santa Bárbara, Heredia), Portalón School (Quepos), Leonidas BriceñoBaltodano School (Nicoya), Barroeta School (Athens), Lanas School of Puriscal (Puriscal), Ramón Aguilar Fernández School (Oreamuno) and the Carrillos de Poás High School (Poás, Alajuela).  All of these educational centers, in addition to the winners, will receive desks created with recycled sheets of Tetra Pak packaging from the ReciclaDos program.

     Likewise, the organization of the contest awarded four additional prizes to the Sulayon Indigenous School (Talamanca), the Braulio Carrillo Educational Eco Center (Moravia), the Republic of Haiti School (San José) and the Santa María de Guadalupe School (Santo Domingo).

     “My Guardian Challenge is an innovative strategy to unite the government, private companies and civil society in a common vision of transforming Costa Rica into a land of nature guardians,” said Jessica Sheffield Zamora, executive director of Guardianes de la Naturaleza.

    My Guardian Challenge 2023 in numbers:

    • Participation of 71 educational centers, for a total of 31,299 students.
    •  A total of 165 homes that added up to 425 people.
    • People from 54 cantons participated, with the cantons of San Carlos, Buenos Aires de Puntarenas and Pérez Zeledón being the ones that registered the highest participation.
    • The participants carried out a total of 705 eco challenges: 103 were on the topic of waste, 98 on artistic, 86 on composting, 81 on pollinator garden, 69 on tree planting, 69 on orchard, 60 on water saving, 60 on connection with nature, 46 in savings and clean energy and 33 in community cleaning.

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