Talented Bermuda Student Wins 1st Place in Prestigious International Ocean Conservation Art Contest Sponsored by Dolphin Quest Bermuda and Delphinus Mexico
Young Artist Accepts Award in Person at Delphinus in Cancún, Mexico during the 7th Annual International Festival of the Oceans
Cancún, Mexico – (May 16, 2019) – Aamir Hayward, a Francis Patton Primary School student, was awarded the 1st place honor in the international category of the 7th annual Festival of the Oceans’ children’s drawing competition. His winning prize included a trip to Mexico to receive his award in person and showcase his artwork in the Children’s Drawing Exhibition located in the Terminal 4 corridor of the International Cancún Airport.
Aamir’s participation in the international event was a result of Dolphin Quest Bermuda’s annual Student Stewardship Contest which occurred earlier this year. The local conservation themed contest was held in conjunction with the United Nations World Wildlife Day on March 3rd. With five themes to select from, almost 100 school children submitted artwork to help raise awareness of the main challenges that threaten marine species and the ocean environment. Aamir was the local winner in his age category with a thoughtfully executed presentation on the Lionfish as an invasive species affecting the Atlantic Ocean reef ecosystems.
The Outreach and Education Department at Dolphin Quest is actively involved in the community through organized activities such as beach clean ups, presentations, field trips for schools and conservation camps for children. Through their partnership with internationally accredited like-minded organizations they also provide opportunities for local children to participate in global events such as Delphinus’ Festival of the Oceans.
The top ten finalists from Dolphin Quest Bermuda’s contest were entered in the international category for the Festival of the Oceans art contest – most of which, including Aamir’s, are exhibited alongside the top selected works of 141 entries from students in Mexico, the Bahamas and the U.S.
Delphinus Xcaret, a marine life conservation facility in Cancún, Mexico sponsored the travel and accommodations for Aamir and his chaperone (Aamir’s aunt, Ms. Tiffany Hayward) with additional sponsorship provided by Dolphin Quest Bermuda. One of the highlights was a visit to see and learn about the successful breed and release program of two listed Endangered Species – the Scarlet Macaw and the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas). This program has significantly helped increase dwindling wild populations. Delphinus also hosted environmental educator, Ms. Sundée Faulkner from Dolphin Quest Bermuda who facilitated the organization and participation in this event for Bermuda.
“I feel that protecting the ocean is very important, because we would not want sea creatures to die, go extinct or become endangered like the vaquita”, says Aamir.
Regarding Aamir’s time in Mexico, he describes one of his favorite experiences as the opportunity to interact with dolphins at Delphinus off of the beach of Playa Mujeres.
The International Festival of the Oceans event was inaugurated by Biol. Alfredo Arellano Guillermo, Secretary of Ecology and Environment of Quintana Roo, representing the Governor of the State, C.P. Carlos Joaquín González, the Director of Outreach and Environmental Education of the Municipality of Benito Juárez, Ivonne Ávila on behalf of the municipal president of Benito Juárez, Lic. Mara Lezama Espinosa, Lic. Alejandro Rosel Ramírez, Institutional Relationship Manager of ASUR and Mr. Rodrigo Constandse Córdova, CEO of Delphinus.
“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.”
Delphinus Xcaret, like Dolphin Quest, is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. Alliance members provide the highest level of animal care, and they are committed to educating the public and supporting vital marine wildlife conservation.