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Picture this: The ridge-to-reef connection

student’s picture
Rooted in the Ocean, by Yeonjae Lee
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The winners of international student art competition the 2022 Science Without Borders Challenge have been announced by the Maryland, USA-based Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF).

Now in its 10th year, the contest is designed to engage students in ocean conservation through art. For 2022 students were asked to illustrate a “ridge-to-reef” approach to coral-reef conservation. This involves looking at the entire watershed to protect corals from such local threats as pollution, run-off and sedimentation.

More than 500 primary and secondary school students from nearly 50 countries submitted their pictures for judging in two age-based categories. 

Yeonjae Lee, a 16-year old student from Seoul in South Korea, won first place in the 15-19s category for Rooted in the Ocean. It illustrates how planting trees helps to provide the clean, clear water that coral reefs need. She said that the competition “made me realise that without physically going to the ocean, there are countless ways that we can take action on land. 

“The roots of trees act as forest buffers and help prevent pollution from entering the water by stabilising the sediment,” she said of her artwork. “The depiction of a father and son planting a young tree represents a hopeful future where the current generation can hold hands with the next generation to save the ocean.”

Yeonjae Lee, 16, Winner in the 15-19 category
Yeonjae Lee, 16, Winner in the 15-19 category
’DARMAYA’ Our Heritage, Our Nature, by Salwa Putri
’DARMAYA’ Our Heritage, Our Nature, by Salwa Putri
When Water Flows from Ridge to Reef, by Xixi Yu
When Water Flows from Ridge to Reef, by Xixi Yu

Second place in the category went to Salwa Putri, 16, from Pasuruan, Indonesia for ‘DARMAYA’ Our Heritage, Our Nature, and Xixi Yu, also 16, from Union City, California came third with When Water Flows from Ridge to Reef.

First place in the category for 11-14-year-old students went to Amy Hyobin Pyo, 12, from New Jersey. Coral Reef in the Bosom of Their Mother illustrates the use of coral nurseries: “I loved this idea and wanted people to know about it and support it,” she said.

Winner, 11-14 category: Coral Reef in the Bosom of Their Mother by Amy Hyobin Pyo
Winner, 11-14 category: Coral Reef in the Bosom of Their Mother by Amy Hyobin Pyo
One Connection, by Jeongwoo Lee
One Connection, by Jeongwoo Lee
Marine Protected Areas, by Twiggy Chen
Marine Protected Areas, by Twiggy Chen

Jeongwoo Lee, 14 and also from New Jersey, came second in this category for One Connection, while Twiggy Chen, 14, from Richmond, BC in Canada was third with Marine Protected Areas.

The foundation awards each winner a scholarship of up to US $500 to help them pursue their interests in art and ocean conservation. 

“Students and teachers who participate in this competition continue to impress me with their evident passion for marine conservation and drive to make a difference,” said KSLOF director of education Amy Heemsoth. “This gives me hope for our ocean’s future.” Students and teachers interested in next year’s competition can learn more and apply here.

Amy Hyobin Pyo, 12, Winner of the 11-14 category
Amy Hyobin Pyo, 12, Winner of the 11-14 category

Also on Divernet: Scientists Report From Coral Crisis Frontline

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