Storyfest 2021


Tell an inspiring story to move the Planet Forward

Enter to win our Storyfest Award

There is no story more gripping than that of our changing planet — and the solutions to sustain it. While problems from climate to the pandemic to plastic use to conservation abound, we’re looking for the stories surrounding the people, ideas, and innovations making the world greener now.

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Need inspiration? See the Storyfest
2020 Winners

Check the FAQ!

The Planet Forward Storyfest Awards, in collaboration with One Tree Planted, recognize and reward the best and most compelling student-told stories illuminating environmental issues and solutions, shared during the 2020-2021 school year. We are looking for both substance in the story and creative execution. Be memorable, have an impact — and have fun.

Award Categories

  • Best Science Essay: Entrants in this category should have a story that analyzes a scientific issue/problem and develops a solution based on factual information and research.

  • Most Compelling Character: Entrants in this category should feature the story of a character, working to move the planet forward, told in an engaging way that leaves the audience with a lasting impression.

  • Most Creativity in the Art of Environmental Storytelling: Entrants in this category should have a story that most creatively tells an environmental narrative using ingenious media formats or storytelling techniques.

  • Best Use of Science or Data: Delve into explanatory storytelling through either scientific innovation or quantitative data, and tell the story behind an innovation or idea to move the planet forward. Explore using metaphor, revealing a discovery as if you were solving a mystery.

  • Best Scalable Innovation: Entrants in this category have a story that best features a scalable and inspiring innovation that has the greatest chance to change the world within the next five years.

What formats are accepted?

Your story can be in one or more mediums, including written, video, audio, and/or photo essay. Full details on format requirements are in the Official Rules.

What can my story be about?

We’re looking for stories about ideas and innovations that can move the planet forward. Untold stories. Misunderstood stories. And little-known ideas, people, and breakthroughs that can make a difference, have impact, inform, and inspire. These are the topic areas we’re hoping you will explore, and can reflect your studies, research, work, experience, or dreams:

  • Food: How can we feed the planet, grow better food, stop wasting so much of it?

  • Water: How should we use it, conserve it, clean it, get it to places that don’t have enough of it?

  • Energy: What are new ways to get it, make it cleaner, use it more efficiently?

  • Mobility: What’s a better way to get around, reduce congestion, minimize the impact on the environment and the climate? What has changed since the pandemic, for better or worse, and how can we look forward?

  • The built environment: How should we build for the future? What are the new materials, technologies or designs that will make better homes, offices, neighborhoods, cities and towns? How has the pandemic changed our view of city life?

  • Biodiversity: How do we preserve and foster our vital ecosystems?

  • Public health: What impact and takeaways can the environmental movement utilize from the pandemic and/or the response to it? How are climate change and the pandemic intertwined, and what can we learn?



Grand prize winners will each receive a cash prize of $500 and 50 trees planted in a National Forest in their name by One Tree Planted.


Storyfest entries will be judged in four areas:

  1. Creativity and effectiveness of chosen format/s;

  2. Excellence in written/verbal communication and/or technical and production skill;

  3. Factual accuracy, including attribution of facts, data and quotes, and superior research that considers different perspectives; and

  4. Overall potential impact of the featured idea.

All submitted work will be reviewed by Planet Forward’s team of experts.

Team Entries

Please note that team entries are limited to two team members. Both team members will be recognized at any university award presentation; however, only one Prize will be awarded for the entire team. See the Official Rules for more information on team entries.

Story Eligibility & Deadline

Any story submitted on between Monday, June 1, 2020, 12:00 am EDT, and the deadline to submit stories, Friday, March 26, 2021, at 11:59 PM EDT, is eligible for Storyfest 2021.



  1. Review the Official Rules, then log into your account, or create a new one.

  2. Draft your story on the Planet Forward website.

  3. At the bottom of the page, check the “This is a Storyfest entry” checkbox and complete the entry form questions. 

  4. Change your story status to “Needs Review,” and hit “Save.” You’re done!

Need help? Email


(Header images: "Camera" by IconMark, "PH" and "Earth" by Victoruler.)