TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- In honor of World Environment Day (WED) 2011, Bayer once again joined the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA) today to sponsor a series of youth environmental education programs.
The programs were held at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, this year’s North American World Environment Day host city. The events dovetailed with the WED theme, “Forests: Nature at Your Service.” They featured an exhibition of UNEP’s 20th annual International Children’s Painting Competition (ICPC), an ICPC awards ceremony and a student workshop led by astronauts Dr. Mae C. Jemison and Dr. Roberta Bondar.
Jemison is America’s first African-American female astronaut, an environmental studies professor and spokesperson for Bayer’s award-winning Making Science Make Sense® program. Bondar is Canada’s first female astronaut and a medical doctor who holds a doctorate in neuroscience.
“Bayer’s ongoing work with UNEP on World Environment Day and the International Children's Painting Competition underscores our commitment to environmental education and sustainability,” said Phil Blake, President and CEO, Bayer Inc. “We understand that to achieve a truly sustainable world we must begin by educating today's youth early on about their role in protecting the planet and its various ecosystems, such as forests.”
“UNEP RONA is proud to partner once again with Bayer on the International Children's Painting Competition and World Environment Day. This collaboration began with the first North American celebrations four years ago, and we are delighted that this partnership is growing from strength to strength,” said Amy Fraenkel, Director and Regional Representative, UNEP RONA.
ICPC Award Winnersand Exhibition
Prerika Chawla, a seventh-grader at Hopkins Junior High School in Fremont, California, received the top North American prize. Her painting depicts the devastating effects of urban encroachment and pollution on the lush green forests. Chawla’s award includes a $1,000 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip for her and a chaperone to the September 26-30 TUNZA International Children’s Conference in Bandung, Indonesia.
Also honored were North American second place winner Cissy Yao, a ninth-grader at Northern Secondary School in Markham, Ontario, and North American honorable mention winner Christine Yu, a sixth-grader who attends Mission Valley Elementary School in Fremont, Calif.
Three students won “Toronto’s Best” honors. They include Michelle Kim, an eighth-grader from Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts in Toronto, and two students from Markham, Ontario – first-grader Samson Chow from People’s Christian Academy and eighth-grader Jonathan Kwan (honorable mention) from Mount Joy Public School. Regional second place winner Yao and Toronto’s Best winners Chow and Kwan also attend the Beware Wet Paint Progressive Arts School in Ontario.
The winners were selected from 1,636 entries from six Canadian provinces and 21 U.S. states, and they will now compete with ICPC winners from UNEP’s five other regions worldwide for the top global honors. Nearly 27,000 students submitted paintings throughout UNEP’s six regions. Bayer AG and Bayer Corporation are global and regional sponsors, respectively.
“How appropriate that UNEP allows children from all over the world to have a voice in the discussion about our environment through its annual International Children's Painting Competition,” said Jim Toomey, the creator of syndicated newspaper cartoon “Sherman’s Lagoon” who served as an ICPC judge. “After all, they have the most at stake in the long-term health of our planet. As a judge for the competition, I was truly humbled by how thought-provoking and original these children could be through their art. It tells me that even the youngest of them care deeply about the environment.”
The 50-picture ICPC exhibition features all the winning paintings and will be on display at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto through August 31.
Astronaut-Led Student Workshop
Dr. Bondar joined fellow astronaut Dr. Jemison who led the ICPC winners and North Kipling Junior Middle School students through an interactive environmental workshop. The students identified key local forest-related problems and developed and presented solutions. They received additional guidance from Toronto-based environmental organizations, other experts and Bayer volunteers.
“Exposing young people to the importance of the environment is critical to creating the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Fraenkel. “Environmental stewardship requires engagement of everyone from the youngest children to leaders of multinational corporations.”
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About Bayer Inc.
Bayer Inc. (Bayer) is a Canadian subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international research-based group with core businesses in health care, crop science and innovative materials. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Bayer Inc. operates the Bayer Group's HealthCare and MaterialScience businesses in Canada. Bayer CropScience Inc., headquartered in Calgary, Alberta operates as a separate legal entity in Canada. Together, the companies play a vital role in improving the quality of life for Canadians – producing products that fight diseases, protecting crops and animals, and developing high-performance materials for applications in numerous areas of daily life. Canadian Bayer facilities include the Toronto headquarters and offices in Montréal and Calgary. Bayer Inc. has approximately 800 employees across Canada and had sales of $827 million CDN in 2010. Globally, the Bayer Group had sales of over 35 billion Euro in 2010. Bayer Inc. invested approximately $36 million CDN in research and development in 2010. Worldwide, the Bayer Group spent the equivalent of over 3.1 billion Euro in 2010 in R&D. For more information, go to www.bayer.ca.
About Bayer Corporation and Making Science Make Sense®
Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., is the U.S. subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and high-tech materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company’s products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. The Corporation is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its role as a socially and ethically responsible corporate citizen. Economy, ecology and social responsibility are corporate policy objectives of equal rank. In North America, Bayer had 2010 net sales of EUR 8,228 million ($10,861 million) and employed 16,400 at year-end. For more information, go to www.bayerus.com.
Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) is Bayer’s company-wide initiative that advances science literacy through hands-on, inquiry-based science education, employee volunteerism and a public education campaign. Currently, 12 Bayer sites around the U.S. operate local MSMS programs, which together represent a national volunteer corps of more than 1,000 employees.
About United Nations Environment Programme
Established in 1972 following the United Nation’s Conference on the Human Environment, UNEP’s mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
About UNEP Regional Office for North America
The mission of UNEP's Regional Office for North America (RONA), which is located in Washington, D.C. and comprises Canada and the United States, is: to build support in the region for UNEP's work; to promote effective responses to international environmental challenges; and to foster cooperation on environmental issues between North America and the broader international community. To achieve this mission, RONA’s strategy is to promote collaboration between UNEP and all sectors of North American society, including U.S. and Canadian governmental institutions, the private sector and civil society groups, and to provide UNEP with North American perspectives. For more information on UNEP RONA, go to: www.unep.org/rona.
About Bayer and UNEP
Bayer AG is the first company in the world to forge a long-term partnership with UNEP in the area of youth and environment. The partners first began cooperating on youth environmental projects in Asia in the late 1990s. In 2004, Bayer and UNEP signed a framework agreement to globalize this partnership. The partners have jointly organized a dozen environmental projects for young people around the world, including the TUNZA International Youth and Children’s Conference, regional youth networks, the Bayer Young Environmental Envoy Program, the International Children’s Painting Competition, the photo competition Ecology in Focus in Eastern Europe and TUNZA Magazine. In addition, Bayer Corporation in the United States supports UNEP’s World Environment Day activities in North America.
Further information on the partnership between UNEP and Bayer is available on the Internet at: www.unep.bayer.com.
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