Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Nature kids speak out…poster competition, 2013

School children in much of rural Sri Lanka share their neighbourhood with wildlife, which can be either harmless or life threatening. While they study hard to achieve a better education, they also witness their parents struggling with the daily challenges of survival. Conflict with elephants over crop raiding in the Rathambalagama region in southern Sri Lanka is common and it is here that Born Free’s awareness raising programme is helping school children to appreciate the surrounding habitats and the wildlife living in them, including of course the elephants.

In late 2013, for the third consecutive year, Born Free Sri Lanka held an inter-school environmental awareness programme involving a poster competition among 30 schools, organized in collaboration with the Sri Lankan government’s local Education Department. There were four age categories corresponding with four different themes, carefully chosen to align not just with age groups but also with locally relevant environmental issues. Grades 1, 2 and 3 drew posters with the theme “Butterflies Color Our School Garden”. “Let’s End Hunting Wild Animals” was the theme for Grades 4, 5 and 6 and Grades 7, 8, 9, 10 drew posters on “Agrochemicals Poison the Earth”. Senior students of Grades 11, 12 and 13 had a rather controversial theme: “No Baby Elephant Smuggling!”

Agrochemicals Poison the Earth 1st place
'Agrochemicals Poison the Earth' 1st place

The local Education office received more than 250 entries with vibrant messages. The selection panel, composed of the local Education Director, the Born Free Country Representative, two art teachers and a consultant teacher, had a difficult time identifying the best entries among the best! It was interesting to see the different perspectives children had on their environment and the creative ways they told the story of their theme. Each category had first, second and third places for the winners while seven other entries were commended.  All the winners will receive certificates in the first school term of 2014 and gift packs will be given to the students who won places in each category. The best performing schools (one in each category) will be awarded with a collection of library books, mainly on environmental studies and stories for Primary and Junior school children.

Butterflies Colour Our School Garden 1st place
Butterflies Colour Our School Garden 1st place

Environmental conservation is a continuous dialogue to be maintained in areas with acute and chronic environmental issues. Awareness and training makes today’s school children tomorrow’s community scientists who can one day work hard for the conservation of the surrounding elephant habitats.

'Let's End Hunting Wild Animals' 1st place
'No Baby Elephant Smuggling!' 1st place
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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