Philadelphia Zoo Announces Third Annual K-12 UNLESS Contest

Philadelphia Zoo Announces the third annual Albert M. Greenfield Foundation UNLESS Contest for grades K-12. Over the past two years, more than 5,400 students from 113 schools in the Delaware Valley region have participated in the UNLESS Contest, creating awareness that will inspire solutions and actions to impact the future of wildlife. This year’s contest encourages students to engage in an authentic service learning experience that focuses on saving endangered Sumatran tigers. With an extension of the animal travel and exploration trail system for big cats scheduled to open in spring 2014, the Zoo is focusing its creativity, resources and efforts on a common goal – big cat conservation -- educating and engaging visitors and, with the help of the UNLESS Contest, area students to help make strides toward achieving this goal.

Directly in line with common core standards, participating students will have the opportunity to think critically about a real-world issue that is impacting Sumatran Tigers – palm oil. Palm oil is the world’s most widely produced vegetable oil found in almost 50% of all packaged foods and in many shampoos, cosmetics and cleaning products. In the last decade, nearly 80% of deforestation in Sumatra was driven by the expansion of non-sustainable palm oil plantations, costing tigers and other endangered wildlife valuable habitat they need to survive.

In 2012, students participating in the first annual Albert M. Greenfield UNLESS Contest reached more than 500,000 people with their palm oil awareness campaigns. This inspirational work was a great start to building awareness around the palm oil issue. This year’s Contest aims to harness the consumer power of children and have them influence companies to action. The challenge for all participants is to create a compelling, positive and influential campaign to encourage specific RSPO companies to ensure their palm oil is “deforestation-free.”

“Today’s youth have an unparalleled ability to inspire and effect positive change for critically endangered tigers. The Zoo believes that doing leads to caring, and through the UNLESS Contest, we are encouraging future generations to become passionate about a global cause that threatens the existence of wildlife and giving them an opportunity to be a part of the solution,” says Kristen Waldron, Director of Conservation Education and Integration. “They have a direct, positive effect on wildlife conservation.”

The top three winning projects in each category (K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12) will be awarded a monetary prize. First prize winners in each category will be awarded $1,250; second prize winners will be awarded $750; and third prize winners will be awarded $250. The application deadline is November 8, 2013 and final contest submissions are due March 7, 2013. Top winning projects will be announced on April 18, 2014 and recognized at the UNLESS Award Ceremony on May 20, 2014. To register your class or for more contest details visit Philadelphiazoo.org.


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