About the Contest

Earth’s climate is changing.  Kids need to know what is happening, why, and how it will affect them in the future.  This contest offers you a chance to take action to help slow climate change – because we will PLANT A TREE for every kid that enters!  And we will encourage adults to contribute to planting even more trees too.  [Here is a 24 minute video that asks what penguins, coral reefs and trees have in common and introduces the contest]

The Earth is heating up because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere acts like a blanket, trapping the sun’s energy (hear it from a kid).  Most of this heat is going into the oceans.  The warming that has already happened is easiest to see in the melting ice of the polar regions (where penguins live) and among coral reefs that die when the water is too hot for too long.  Penguins and coral reefs are like the Earth’s ‘early warning’ system!

Watch the video below and practice being a scientist to discover in more detail why penguins and coral reefs don’t like warming seas from climate change.

Trees help slow climate change by taking carbon dioxide pollution from the air and turning it into sugar (via photosynthesis) to feed themselves.  Learn why trees are important in the video below!

No matter where you live on planet Earth, the Earth’s warming climate will affect you.  That is why this contest is open to any kid, anywhere around the world.


Who are we?

  • Marji Puotinen is a research scientist with a passion for science communication.  In her spare time, she runs an outreach program about climate change for kids called “What do penguins and coral reefs have in common?”  Marji was an award winning University lecturer for a decade before transitioning into researching the impacts of climate change on coral reefs full-time in 2010.  She won the ‘Women in Environmental Action’ Award in 2020 from 350 Perth for her work running the 2018 “Kids care about climate change” drawing contest which got 1,246 entries from 11 countries and 120 schools (see the giant banner).  Listen to a podcast where she explains how and why she teaches kids about the climate crisis.


  • Colleen Filippa is the founder and director of Fifteen Trees – a social enterprise in Australia that has helped community groups plant more than 240,000 trees across Australia since 2009. Colleen has been working in education (primary, secondary and tertiary) and sustainability for over 20 years. Fifteen Trees will be organising the planting of the trees for this campaign. The trees will be native to Australia and planted by community groups across all states. Once planted, students will be able to find their trees by typing their name into the search box on the Fifteen Trees website.

Both Marji and Colleen are part of Homeward Bound (HB), a global initiative to elevate 1,000 women in STEM over 10 years into leadership roles to act on climate change.  Colleen sailed to Antarctica on the first HB Voyage (as chronicled in the documentary film ‘The Leadership‘) .  Marji also sailed to Antarctica but on the third voyage, heads the HB carbon offset team, and has recently joined the HB Faculty as part of the Visibility Advisory Team.

Both Marji and Colleen are also ‘Climate Reality Leaders’ trained as part of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, which aims to empower millions around the world to use their voices and their everyday choices to tackle the climate crisis.

  • Fifteen Trees is organising the planting of trees for this initiative. 15trees.com.au
  • This initiative is inspired and supported by the amazing women of Homeward Bound. homewardboundprojects.com.au
  • Our major sponsor - Dattner Group - made it possible to print the mosaic of the 2,629 drawings onto 2 giant banners (7m high, 2.24 m wide)!!