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Talented Bermuda Student Wins 1st Place in Prestigious International Ocean Conservation Art Contest Sponsored by Dolphin Quest Bermuda and Delphinus Mexico

Aamir Hayward, a Primary 6 student at Francis Patton Primary School, won 1st place in the international category of the 7th annual Festival of the Oceans’ children’s drawing competitionin Cancún, Mexico.  Aamir was awarded with a trip to Mexico along with his aunt,Ms. Tiffany Hayward, who accompanied him.  He received his award in person and saw his work showcased in the Children’s Drawing Exhibition located in the International Cancún Airport.

Aamir’s participation in the international event was a result of Dolphin Quest Bermuda’s annual Student Stewardship Contest which was held in March. The local ocean preservation themed contest was held in conjunction with the United Nations World Wildlife Day which was on March 3.  Aamir was the local winner in his age category.   Aamir’s artwork depicted how the Lionfish is affecting our local waters.

Art submissions were judged based on the presentation of an ocean-themed challenge along with a solution. Aamir’s artwork seamlessly incorporated both elements into one pictorial story that addressed the issue of invasive species. Aamir chose the topic of Lionfish, which is a concern for Bermuda as well as the other participating countries, including Mexico and the Bahamas.

“I don’t like when lionfish invade other fish’s habitats and kill them.  I wanted my artwork to show how dangerous Lionfish can be,” stated Aamir reflecting on his piece.

Aamir, along with the other top ten finalists from Dolphin Quest Bermuda’s contest were entered in the international category for the Festival of the Oceans art contest.

“Seeing my artwork in the airport made me feel like a real artist.  I was very proud of myself,” reflected Aamir.

Delphinus Xcaret, a marine life conservation facility in Cancún, Mexico sponsored the travel and accommodations for Aamir and his chaperone with additional sponsorship provided by Dolphin Quest Bermuda.

Aamir’s whole class was provided an opportunity to visit Dolphin Quest on June 25, during World Ocean Month, as part of Aamir’s award for winning the Dolphin Quest Student Steward Contest in his age category. During the tour of the large, ocean-fed dolphin habitat and outer Ocean Sanctuary, the students enjoyed the unique opportunity to see mother dolphin Bailey and her beautiful newborn female calf. Dolphin Quest Marine Mammal Specialists shared with the class the critical importance of protecting and preserving our ocean and marine wildlife.

Dolphin Quest’s Outreach Manager, Ms. Sundée Faulkner, was able to provide this opportunity for Bermuda students to participate in the invite-only Festival of the Oceans exhibition due to her attendance in an international conservation educators conference held last November at Mystic Aquarium.

“We are honoured to play a part in connecting Aamir with the opportunity to represent Bermuda and showcase his art during this international exhibition”, says Ms. Sundée Faulkner of Dolphin Quest Bermuda. “Dolphin Quest was created as an avenue to connect people and animals in meaningful ways that inspires them to care about and help protect the species in the wild. It is so wonderful to see young people like Aamir using their talents to raise awareness for ocean and marine life conservation.”

“I think it is important to protect Bermuda’s waters as well as all of the waters around the world. Lionfish are one of many things that are harming our oceans,” stated Aamir.