Robert Bateman Invites Youth to Get to Know, Celebrate Biodiversity
April 19, 2010 (Various) – Renowned wildlife artist Robert Bateman is inviting youth to celebrate the spirit of International Year of Biodiversity and reconnect with nature through the 10th annual Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest. Launching on Earth Day (April 22, 2010) at museums, zoos, aquariums and parks across Canada, the Contest provides young people with the opportunity to use their creative abilities to develop a broader understanding and appreciation of the natural world. The Contest is sponsored by Premier Sponsor Nature Canada, and by Parks Canada and Wildlife Habitat Canada.
"We support this contest because it helps achieve a very important goal, connecting people to nature," said Ian Davidson, Nature Canada's executive director. "By encouraging young people to explore the natural world, and gain a greater understanding of its beauty, this contest helps youth to express their own creativity, and what better source for artistic inspiration is there, than nature?"
Robert Bateman launched the Get to Know Contest in 2000 to inspire Canadian youth to "get to know their wild neighbors" by getting outdoors and actively connecting with nature. Over the last ten years, it has grown into Canada's largest nature art, writing and photography contest for youth, spreading the key message that caring about biodiversity begins with meeting the magnificent neighbours of other species found in our own backyard. By fostering a more active lifestyle and a deeper connection with nature, the Contest endeavours to cultivate a generation of healthy, environmentally focused youth.
States Mr. Bateman, "Every child's path to becoming a wise environmental steward begins with exploring and discovering the natural world. The beauty of the diverse plants and animals that share our planet is wild, mysterious, and ancient as life itself. I encourage you to celebrate International Year of Biodiversity, learn the names of your wild neighbours of other species, and get to know them through observation, art, writing and photography."
Along with the support of key nature organizations across Canada, the Contest has received endorsement from a number of prominent Canadian authors and photographers. Margaret Atwood, the celebrated Canadian author, has expressed her support for the writing category, proclaiming that "by going outside and developing a basic knowledge of biodiversity, we can all respond creatively to the need for change in the way we live, work, learn, and grow — especially in relation to our neighbours of other species. I encourage aspiring young writers to share, through the Get to Know Contest, their powerful messages about the splendour of nature and the need to preserve it."
Winners of the 2010 Get to Know Contest will receive prizes, including a one-week stay at the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, where they will be joined by the winners of the US Get to Know Contest. Other prizes include Panasonic digital cameras; art supplies from Opus; books from Scholastic; and the publication of winning art and writing pieces in the 2011 Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest Calendar. Entries can be submitted online at www.gettoknow.ca, between April 22nd and May 28th.
The theme of the 2010 contest is biodiversity, in honour of the International Year of Biodiversity, as declared by the UN. Our planet is home to a wonderful and mysterious array of species; the Get to Know Contest is encouraging youth to submit artwork, photography and written work that celebrates these species and the intricate relationships among them. Details on the 22 contest launch events taking place across Canada can be found at www.gettoknow.ca/events/24.
About the Robert Bateman Get to Know Program
In the past decade, the Robert Bateman Get to Know Program has connected hundreds of thousands of young people with nature by encouraging them to "get to know" their wild neighbors. The program provides youth with direct, hands-on learning opportunities through cutting-edge educational initiatives based on current research and developed in conjunction with leading educators. The Get to Know Program envisions a continent-wide shift in thinking, towards an understanding that conserving biodiversity is our shared responsibility. By encouraging young people to regard other species as important members of their community, we are working to restore the link between youth and the environment, and foster the next generation of passionate environmental stewards. Recent Get to Know initiatives include Virtual Hikes - interactive learning resources which introduce youth to local greenspaces; Natural Treasure, a program which draws youth outside to local parks in search of hidden hieroglyphs; and the Get to Know BioBlitz, an event which will see youth exploring one of 22 participating natural areas under the guidance of naturalists on May 22nd, 2010, International Day for Biodiversity.
For Contest Information: