PRESS RELEASE: Young Climate Champions: Announcing the Winners of the 2024 CT Student Climate Poster Contest

State representative Christine Palm (center) and Leah Lopez Schmalz (right) present second place award to Alexis M (left). 

Hartford, CT – The CT Coalition for Climate Action is pleased to announce the winners of the 2024 Student Climate Poster Competition. The semifinalists included students from Bristol, Prospect, and Enfield.  

In 2022, Connecticut became one of the first states to require Climate Change Studies as part of its science curriculum in public schools (grades 5- 12). In recognition and celebration of prioritizing climate education, the CT Coalition for Climate Action inaugurated the 2024 Climate Poster Competition. 

Teachers Timothy Stankye and Janine Walsh from Long River Middle School, which had nine students submit posters to the contest, said “Climate change education is at the forefront of education at Long River Middle School. Climate change education is integrated and spiraled throughout each grade level, building upon previous knowledge.”   

The winners were announced at a celebration in the State Capitol’s South Lobby on Wednesday. Over 160 supporters from around the state, including several legislators, came to vote for their favorites, cheer the students on, and attend the announcement.  

Representative Travis Simmons (left) and Representative David Michel (right) looking at the posters.  

Fifty posters were submitted to the contest, and judged by a committee of environmental leaders, legislators, and others, who selected a shortlist of ten posters to be displayed at the Capitol. Participants were scored on topic, aesthetics, content, and presentation of information. Following the celebration, 12 of the top posters will be put together into a calendar that will be distributed to legislators next session, and available for download to highlight climate issues being studied throughout the state.  

Attendees of the event voted for three finalists, and Representative Christine Palm announced the winners. The first-place winner, Maddie M., attends Long River Middle School. Second place went to Alexis M., and third place was Elyas M. 

“As we come together this week to highlight the urgency of climate action, it’s more important than ever that we empower youth with the knowledge and tools to become stewards of our planet, and advocates for their communities,” said Leah Lopez Schmalz, president of Save the Sound. “Through this poster contest, we aim not only to showcase the creativity and talent of Connecticut students, but also to amplify their voices in advocating for positive change.” 

Supporters from around the state came to view the posters and vote for their favorites. 

The poster contest reception was hosted as part of Climate Action Week 2024, an initiative meant to highlight our state’s climate initiatives, and inspire bolder action for a sustainable future. The week featured a youth advocacy day lead by Sunrise Movement Connecticut on Monday, a rope line advocacy day on Wednesday after the poster contest, and an upcoming climate coffee with Representative Eleni Kavros DeGraw on Saturday in Canton. 

The CT Coalition for Climate Action comprises environmental advocates, health experts, labor and municipal representatives, and others advocating for climate action in Connecticut. Formed in 2023, the Coalition’s central demand is that Connecticut keep its promise to cut climate pollution and protect our future. Members of the coalition’s steering committee are Save the Sound, American College of Physicians – CT Chapter, ConnPIRG, Conservation Law Foundation, CT Health Professionals for Climate Action, CT League of Conservation Voters, Environment Connecticut, Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, Mitchell Environmental Health Associates, People’s Action for Clean Energy, Sierra Club CT, and the Nature Conservancy in CT. More information at


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