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2010 Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest Launches on October 1

Renowned wildlife artists Robert Bateman and Wyland, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, invite American youth to “get to know” their wild neighbors of other species. The Get to Know contest encourages young people to develop a deeper appreciation of biodiversity through art, writing, photography and video. Entries based on a first-hand experience with nature can be submitted at www.gettoknow.ca from October 1 to November 30, 2010.

In celebration of 2011 International Year of Forests, the Get to Know Program, the U.S. Forest Service, Parks Canada, and the United Nations are pleased to announce an all-new Get to Know Contest video category. To enter, youth are invited to go outdoors and create short videos (30 or 60 seconds in length) that convey the theme “This is My Forest”. Participants are encouraged to incorporate local green spaces, culture, music and art in their videos. Youth age 12 and older are invited to incorporate a service learning or community service component into their video submissions, describing how they have contributed to the health of their local forest. All video entries can be submitted and viewed at the Robert Bateman Get to Know Your Wild Neighbors YouTube page.

A selection of winning videos will be shown at key United Nation’s International Year of Forests events starting on January 24, 2011 (and continuing throughout the year). Winning videos will also be adapted into Public Service Announcements about International Year of Forests. Winners age 12 and over will have an opportunity to attend an Art & Nature Camp at a national park in Canada.

“What a great way for young people to learn about nature than through art, photography, writing and this year’s new video category in the annual Get to Know competition,” said Tom Tidwell, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service.  “It is especially exciting this year that our future stewards of urban forests, national forests and grasslands will go outdoors and create videos capturing ‘This is My Forest’ as a theme.”

This is the second year of the Get to Know program in the United States, and partners are excited about opportunities to expand the program in the future. Supported by a core partnership of the Get to Know Society, US Fish & Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Federation and the Children and Nature Network the program’s mission is to work collaboratively to use the expressive arts as a tool to reconnect kids with nature. Piloted in California over the first two years, the program reached thousands of children last year, and received more than 7,000 entries.

This year, the Contest will launch at a number of exciting events including: the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens on October 1, the Wyland Living Green Fair in Long Beach on October 2, and the San Diego Natural History Museum on October 4. Youth are invited to come out and meet Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl, and other cool friends of the Get to Know Program. Launch event participants will also have a chance to meet some of California’s wild neighbors. Renowned marine artist Wyland will attend all launch events.

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