Mar. 10 — The nature conservation charity, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC), is launching a poster competition, ‘Why are Seabirds Important’? Open to all schools from Grenada to Anguilla, EPIC is offering fantastic prizes to both students and schools. Winning students will receive the most comprehensive Caribbean bird book, ‘Birds of the West Indies’, a pair of binoculars, as well as their posters displayed in government offices and in the press. The winning students’ schools will also receive ‘Birds of the West Indies’ and $EC 300 to purchase books on nature conservation. If you are a student between 6 and 18 you can enter the competition. Your poster can be of any size and media (paints, textiles, mixed media etc.) the more inventive the better. The poster must be photographed or scanned and the signature of the Principle of the entrant’s school attached and sent via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The address, telephone number, email and contact information for the school and student should also be included. The closing date is April 30 2010, with the winner from each category (6-9, 10-13, 14-18) announced in June 2010. Judges are looking for a design that is eye catching and will raise the profile of seabirds in the Caribbean. Work should address why seabirds are important to people and the environment and why they are important in their own right. Entrants might consider their links to fishermen, Caribbean culture and role in the marine food web etc. For ideas you could look at the EPIC website www.epicislands.org , SCSCB website www.scscb.org , Birdlife website www.birdlife.org , RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk and project partner’s website, http://www.listalight.co.uk/webpages/seabirdspecies.htm . Have you ever looked up into the sky and seen a Magnificent Frigatebird spiralling on the thermals or mobbing fishermen as they bring their catch back to the wharf? Have you watched a mighty, prehistoric-looking Brown Pelican catching fish with its huge scooping beak or the clown-like Brown Boo By perched on a buoy? Seabirds are the silent backdrop to our beautiful Caribbean islands, but what is their role? Katharine and David Lowrie, from EPIC are undertaking a two year study to create the first Seabird Breeding Atlas of the Lesser Antilles. It will provide a comprehensive database of where seabirds are nesting and how many there are. To highlight the importance of seabirds to our islands, they decided to launch the poster competition. The Lowries explain, ‘Seabirds are like the building blocks of marine ecosystems, if you remove them, the system begins to fall down. Around the world, declines in their populations have pre-empted collapses in fisheries. Seabirds provide the warning signs, if man chooses to look. Seabirds eat diseased and old fish, improving fish stocks. They provide the exotic backdrop to the Caribbean islands that tourists flock to visit. SCSCB (Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds), Bird Life International and RSPB have all generously funded the prizes. We hope that through the competition, people will begin to realize the value of seabirds and start to conserve them’.
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