From: Roger Greenway, ENN
Published November 23, 2011 02:35 PM

Contest Challenges Youth to "Get to Know" Their Wild Neighbors

Renowned wildlife artists Robert Bateman and Wyland are challenging American youth to get outdoors and "get to know" their wild neighbors of other species by entering the Get to Know Contest. Youth age 5-18 are invited to create art, writing photography and video entries based on first-hand experiences with nature, which they can submit at www.gettoknow.ca until November 30, 2010.

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Bateman and Wyland hope the Get to Know Contest will inspire youth to build meaningful connections with nature. "The investment we are making by connecting youth with nature is the most important one we can make for this generation," says Wyland. Youth disconnection from nature stems from the trend of young Americans spending progressively more time indoors, to the detriment of healthy outdoor activity. As of 2010, American school-aged youth are packing a staggering 53 hours a week in front of entertainment media screens — up from 44 hours per week in 2004. And while they are aware of global environmental issues like climate change and deforestation in the Amazon, they often cannot name ten different plants and animals in their own backyard. "Caring for this planet begins with getting to know our neighbours of other species", reiterates Robert Bateman, who started the Get to Know Contest in Canada in 2000.

The theme for the 2010 Get to Know Contest art, writing and photography categories is "Celebrating Biodiversity". The all-new video category has a theme of "This is My Forest", in honor of 2011 International Year of Forests. The video category is open to youth from all around the world.

Image shows 2009 art winner: "Autumn Colors" by Elisaveta Gavrilov, age 7, California

Winners will receive "wild" prizes, including a week-long Art & Nature Camp experience at a Canadian national park for those aged 12 and older. Winning art and writing entries will be published in the 2012 Get to Know Contest Calendar, and winning video entries will be featured at U.N. International Year of Forests events in 2011. All youth between 5 and 18 years of age are invited to get outdoors, get to know their wild neighbors, and submit an entry at www.gettoknow.ca.  The contest closes on November 30.

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