Green Carpet Awards 2013: An innovative eco-educational program (for school-going kids)

As part of National Geographic Explorer, the Green Carpet Awards is an environmental awareness program designed for students to take on the role as a pseudo explorer. Armed with a ‘borrowed‘ Nikon professional DSLR, thousands of primary and secondary students from across the island ventured to the greenest pockets of Singapore capturing their best photographic moments. Then, they had to write a 50-word essay to accompany their photograph and submit their entries to win the contest.

Children have an immense capacity for creativity. As parents and teachers, we need to nurture it and give it room to grow. The Green Carpet Awards provides the youth with a platform to express their creativity and teach us how they see the natural world, as well as to inspire all of us to care for our planet.” Dr Francis Downey, Vice President of National Geographic Learning.

Out of 5,000 entries, 20 nominees were picked and got the chance to exhibit their photos at The Canopy, Garden by the Bay (across from the main gift shop). This exhibit is accessible for public viewing until 21 July 2013. Here are some of the nominee’s photo entries.

As part of the awards program, students, whose photo has been nominated, got the chance to host a group of visitors (including me) along an adventure trail of Secret Life of Trees at World of Plants. I was told by Collin Ng, Business Manager of WorldEduCorp, that this is an important part of the program because it allow students to express and present themselves, while developing leadership skills. 

I joined Group 2. Hosted by two 10 year olds, Mithuna and Qian Hui, from Keming Primary School. they led our small group of 20 visitors through a 5-stop educational adventure. At each stop, the girls will take turns to present the unique flora and fauna of the surrounding area. We were all encouraged to touch and feel the different tree barks, leaves and fruits.

Host of Group 2: Qian Hui (left) and Mithuna (right)
10-year old Qian Hui in action

Group 2 at the highest point of the Secret Life of Trees trail

BONUS. Professional Nikon cameras were also available to public visitors to join the group. Visitors were encouraged take their best nature photos and submit with an attached 50 word essay. A mirror experience of what the kids went through back in January 2013 to enter this contest. Except this time, there is no contest. Only the best selected photos will be uploaded and displayed on all Green Carpets Awards’s social network.

Park visitor, Nicolas (above). Trying to capture a photo using a professional Nikon DSLR, provided by event’s main sponsor, Nikon.
Rest stop. Participants taking time to compose their 50-word essay to accompany their snaps for contest submission.

Midway through, Darryl, winner of the Best Journalism Awards for category 11-15 year old, led our group to these interesting Kabok trees originally grown in Africa. Darryl asked ‘Do you know why this tree has spikes?‘. He pointed to the large tree behind him with hard thorn-like spikes growing out of the tree’s trunk. Answer: To protect against parasites and store water for the tree. Okay, I knew that.

A different variety of Kabok tree with large exaggerated spikes on trunk

Overall, it was a brief and memorable outing with these amazing kids! 

Green Carpet Awards 2013 winners

My personal take-way from this experience is: Green Carpet Awards is highly innovative program that  engages the intellectual mind, visual senses and photographic skills of young kids. If I had a kid, this would be the kind of program I would love to have her/him participate in. 

The program allows the kids to think a little deeper into the issues of the environment and build awareness on how everything on this natural planet is, interrelated. 
I was told that there is a possible Green Carpet Awards for adults in the near future. Oh yeah. Super excited.

With the Green Carpet Awards team (from middle to right): Collin Ng, Business Manager, Yuan Ting Ng, Marketing Program Executive, and me

To find out more information about Green Carpet Awards or how your child can participate in future awards, go to their website.

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