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EAD urges young minds to come up with innovative ways to promote campaign for Bu Tinah to be voted as one of the world's 7 Natural Wonders

posted on 30/12/2010: 2253 views



The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) is inviting students across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to participate in its 10th Annual Environment Competition. It is the first time since its inception that the competition is open to students in every emirate. EAD is also launching a brand new website for the competition where participants can register as well as download the competition categories and guidelines.

One of the aims of this year's competition is to get young people from across the whole country to support the campaign to vote for Bu Tinah as one of the 7 new wonders of nature. Bu Tinah Island, off the coast of Abu Dhabi, has been short-listed in an international competition along with such well-known natural icons as the Great Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Islands.

Home to the world's healthiest population of dugongs - dolphin-like ‘sea cows' that graze on sea grass - as well as unique coral reefs found nowhere else on planet Earth, Bu Tinah is the only finalist from the Arabian Gulf region and a source of pride throughout the Gulf region. In a news report seen by millions, CNN this month said the fact that BuTinah was in the final itself represented a major victory.

However, the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi wants to go even further, and is calling on young people everywhere to spearhead efforts to raise Bu Tinah's profile among the community in the UAE and internationally in order to help ensure its long-term conservation.

The Annual Environment Competition was developed by EAD in 2001. It aims to motivate students to learn more about environmental issues and providing a forum for them to voice their concerns. Every year, the competition is held under a different theme. This year, the theme is "Many Species, One Planet, One Future." For the past nine years, the Competition has been open only to students of Abu Dhabi Emirate schools, but EAD is now reaching out to all students across the UAE with the help of its new website. EAD is urging participants from kindergarten through to university to learn more about the UAE's rich biodiversity by visiting the website and registering for this competition.

The Annual Environment Competition is a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and is sponsored by Shell. Since it was first launched in 2001, the participation rate has grown by 557%. In the 2009 edition, the competition received over 1,597 entries from 2,750 students in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi took part.

This year, the competition will offer different categories for schools and universities. The school categories are: Garner Support for the Vote Bu Tinah! Campaign, Colour Your Imagination, Colour\Paint Your Thoughts, Tell Me a Story, Group Field Research, Public Speaking and; How Aware Are We About the Biodiversity Around Us.

The university categories are: Photography, Design a Public Service Announcement, Produce a Short Film and Write a Newspaper Article.

"This year's theme will provide students with the opportunity to learn more about the UAE's rich biodiversity, including BuTinah Island, and to showcase it to the rest of the UAE in a creative and educational way," said Eduardo Gonçalves , Director of Environment Awareness Sector, EAD.

"The competition has witnessed enormous success over the past ten years, with many students returning to take part year after year. For its tenth anniversary, we're excited to extend our reach by inviting all students in the UAE to participate and to help promote BuTinah Island to the whole country and beyond. We're proud to have 100% online registration to promote more paperless contributions and reduce the carbon footprint involved," Gonçalves added.

Commenting on this new approach, Mr. John Bany, Country Chair for Shell Abu Dhabi, said: "Shell is delighted and proud to be looking back on ten years of partnership with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi in the area of Environmental Education. Activities such as the Environment Competition are great fun and are very engaging for the young people involved." In April 2011, all online entries will be judged by a panel of experts, with the winners being announced in May 2011. EAD will acknowledge the winners and participating schools, and will exhibit the best entries publicly.

The deadline to register in this competition is February 1, 2011. To register, please visit: http://envirocompetition.ead.ae. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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