Ugochi Anyaka's Blog

Day 1

Ugochi Anyaka - winner of the 2nd UNEP Young Environmental Journalist Award - is currently completing a study tour of the United States as part of her prize. In this blog, she will share her thoughts, experiences and encounters as she travels across the US on a specially-designed 'green itinerary'.

My award tour has finally happened! I’m in Washington DC to start my UNEP Young Environmental Journalist Award study programme in the USA. After a very long flight, it was such a relief when I saw a man with big smile and a sign written "Anyaka family”. He walked up to me, helped me with my luggage and walked me to a waiting car. I was chauffeur driven to my destination. Ricardo! That’s his name. Funny and interesting man who drove me to my destination like I’m royalty. On our ride, we discussed a lot, from his love for writing, to family, and America. Aboard my United Airlines flight over DC, I noticed how green the city is. In all that development, nature had a place. Nigeria has a lot to learn about considering nature in infrastructural and development plans.

Meeting Ricardo at theairport


I finally meet my tour guide, Lamese Hasan. We’ve been corresponding over the past year and I was glad to finally meet a beautiful and expecting Lamese. I can rightly say that this YEJA award also came with a baby boom because I received my award sick from pregnancy, my award tour was moved last year because I was expecting, and I am on an award tour with a mom-to-be. My 1st day started with a visit to the US State Department. We were received by Joe Murphy, whom I had met in Kenya when I was presented with my award. Ashli Savoy from the State Department was also on hand to take us around.

Visit to US State Department with Joseph Murphy


I have a roundtable discussion with staff of The Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), Office of Technical Specialized Agencies (IO/G). I met with Lori Michaelson, Rebecca Owen and Mattew Cassera. I shared my experiences reporting on the environment, and explored great ideas on the best ways to communicate climate and environmental issues successfully. 1pm

I stayed back to join the State Department press briefing, with spokesperson Jen Psaki. It was all about the crisis in Syria, riots in Turkey and up to the prison break in Niger. As much as it wasn't core environmental issues, there are still environmental angles to these stories. We left to meet Asha Beh, Social Media Specialist with the State Department. I was interviewed about my work, and Asha let me in on what wearing the Social media specialist badge of the State Department means. I’ll share a link to the interview soon.


I moved on to the Newseum, which everyone interested in journalism who visits DC must see. It's a building that tells the story of journalism in America. It is the world's only interactive museum dedicated to the news, and visitors can relive the great news stories of our time through multimedia exhibits, artifacts, and news memorabilia.

At the Newseum

My 1st day went beautifully well.

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