The organisation Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) has extended the deadline for an online art competition which repurposes waste materials under the theme “Amazing Seabirds: Our Birds, Our Islands, Our Future.”
Open to residents of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada, this contest is aimed at highlighting the value of seabirds and demonstrating ways that we can help to save them. Participants are invited to create unique artwork from repurposed materials, either litter from the environment or household waste, while beautifying our environment and protecting wildlife by picking up litter. Seabirds are an iconic part of the culture and livelihoods of our people; what better way to demonstrate this value than through art?
Seabirds are masters of the marine environment, feeding both at the ocean’s surface and below. For centuries, seabirds have helped us to understand weather, and guided fisherfolk to schools of fish and back to land. Seabirds are also important for showing us if our oceans are healthy. Reefs grow faster near their nesting sites due to the nutrients from their guano. Despite these benefits, the existence of many of our seabird species is being threatened by our activities.
Worldwide, seabirds are among the most threatened birds. In the Grenadines, threats to seabirds include illegal harvesting of adults and their chicks and eggs, burning and development of nest sites, and invasive animals such as rats, mongoose and goats that may either eat eggs and birds or trample nests. Of particular concern are the effects of marine litter, often originating from the land. Marine litter, namely plastics, is a globally recognised threat to all marine life. For our seabirds, they may either ingest this pollution or become entangled in it, causing injury and even death. Debris that is found on beaches also affects how much nesting space is available, forcing adults to nest among dangerous debris or abandon nesting altogether. Sometimes, seabirds even collect these items to construct their nests. Seabirds often mistake plastics for food – feeding on it themselves or giving it to their chicks who may eventually die from suffocation and starvation. Even one piece of ingested plastic can prove deadly for a seabird. It is predicted that 99% of all seabird species will ingest marine debris by 2050.
Artists young and old are encouraged to make a statement against this wave of pollution affecting our seabirds by creating a unique art piece from repurposed waste. Safety is important, participants are urged to use gloves and other protective gear when handling waste. No marine life must be collected or included in artwork but fasteners and adhesives are permitted. There is no limitation on project size. Group work is permitted but will be counted as one entry.
Entries will be judged in 4 categories: (1) Primary schools, (2) Secondary schools, (3) Tertiary schools and (4) Adults (18+). Cash prizes will be offered to the top 2 winners in each category with a grand prise of US$250. Photos of entries, along with a written or video description of the artwork and materials used, must be submitted by email to [email protected] or WhatsApp at 1 (784) 431-6447 no later than 4 pm on 15 January 2021. Winning submissions may be used by EPIC for future outreach work. Visit http://epicislands.org/grenadines-waste-to-art.html for contest rules and contact [email protected] for further information and questions.
This competition is made possible with funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Cape Cod Bird Club, and donors to Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC).
 Wilcox, C., Van Sebille, E. & Hardesty, B. D. Threat of plastic pollution to seabirds is global, pervasive, and increasing. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 112, 11899–11904, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1502108112
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