'Green carpet' walk for young conservationists

Primary school pupil Isaac Looi did not expect to win an award when he went on a father-son bonding hiking trip on Father's Day in June.

However, a photo of a spider he took while on the adventure trail in Sungei Buloh clinched him the People's Choice award at this year's Green Carpet Awards (GCA) last Friday.

The colour and size of the spider, which was "high up on a tree", caught his attention.

"I had to ask my dad to lift me up and zoomed in with the camera to take the picture," said Isaac, nine.

The Primary 3 pupil from Gongshang Primary School was one of the 20 nominees who walked down the "green carpet" at the GCA held at Fusionopolis.

The annual awards event, now in its fourth year, was jointly organised by National Geographic Learning and Singapore's World EduCorp. It gathered more than 5,000 nominees from primary and secondary schools this year.

Students went on adventure trails in various parks and nature reserves in Singapore, such as Sungei Buloh, Labrador Park and Pasir Ris Mangroves, between Jan and Aug.

They were given digital cameras to take pictures of wildlife that captured their interest.

They then had to choose one and write a paragraph on how that picture could be used to demonstrate a conservational or environmental cause.

Primary 6 pupil Yeo Shing Yu, 12, from Red Swastika Primary School, won the award for best journalist for her picture of a damselfly perched on a leaf. She also gave an account of human pollution from the insect's point of view.

"Hello! I am Damselfly," she wrote. "Damselflies need clean water to survive but the water is getting dirtier and I fear that my days will be over soon."

National Geographic Society fellow and explorer Greg Marshall, one of the judges, said he was proud of the nominees' passion.

"It's not easy to put yourself out there and make a statement about what you believe. And these kids did that - every single one of them," said Mr Marshall.

This article was first published on November 18, 2014.
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