For the eighth year in succession the Phoenix Fund has announced a call for entries for its annual art contest on two themes -“One day of Amur tiger” and “One day of Amur leopard” – with the purpose of attracting young artists towards conservation of these rare cats. This year an unprecedented number of entries were submitted – 1,629 paintings of tiger and 615 drawings of leopard.
It was a real challenge for the organizers of the art contest to choose the best entries for publication in wall calendars for 2014. Only 54 drawings with tigers and leopards were included in colourful calendars, although there were much more paintings worth publishing or exhibiting. In order to encourage the authors it was decided to publish extra copies of pocket calendars with children’s paintings. The calendars will be distributed among kindergarteners and schoolchildren living in habitat of these rare big cats for their active participation in ecological events and actions.
We believe that when participating in such contests, children often try with much pleasure and interest to find out about a lifestyle of animals, what problems animals face to survive in the wild, how people affect animals’ state, and it makes them feel responsible for conserving these big cats in the wild. Moreover, often parents join their kids during their preparations for the contest, and together they learn more interesting and unknown facts about wildlife.
“I would like to note that the geography of participants who submit their entries expands every year. In 2013, the children sent their works not only from cities and villages of Primorsky and Khabarovsky krais, but also from Moskovskaya province and South Korea. Of course, it is our pleasure to see that awareness of the current state of big cats populations steadily grows”, says Director of the Phoenix Fund Sergei Bereznuk.
Thanks to many educational and outreach programmes that the Phoenix Fund has been running for over 15 years, the number of advocates of tigers and leopards are continuously growing; more donations for nature conservation projects are coming from Russian and foreign individuals; more people offering their help as volunteers; every year the number of participants in ecological actions and festivals increases.
The publication of the calendars has become possible thanks to financial support from Rolex Awards for Enterprise (Switzerland), David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and Zoological Society of London (United Kingdom), and Land of the Leopard National Park.