Kommetjie Primary School and Muizenberg Junior School have been named as the joint winners of Bridgestone / Cape Leopard Trust calendar competition. The announcement was made in Johannesburg this morning as Bridgestone celebrates World Earth Day, held every year on April 22.
“Bridgestone has been a corporate sponsor of the Cape Leopard Trust since 2009,” said Bridgestone PR Manager, Mandy Lovell. “As part of our commitment to the Trust, we sponsored a competition among schools to produce a 2014 calendar depicting the Cape Leopard. The competition was timed to generate awareness of nature conservation in the run-up to World Earth Day,” she explained.
The Cape Leopard is an unusual and secretive species of leopard found mainly in the mountains of the Western Cape. It is just half the size of normal African leopards, with males weighing in at 35kg, and females at just 20kg, about the same weight as a five year-old child. It is believed that the size of these Cape Mountain Leopards results from the small size of the wild animals they hunt – dassies and klipspringer. The Cape Leopard Trust was founded in 2004 and works with prominent researchers and conservationists to research and protect one of the Cape’s most well-hidden species.
“The Trust has created a camp in the Cederberg mountains where schoolchildren and researchers can spend time studying the habitat and behaviour of the Cape Leopards,” Lovell said. “First prize for the competition will be an all-inclusive environmental experience at the camp for 21 people, valued at R14 000,” she added.
Grade five to seven learners from schools in the Western Cape were eligible to enter, with team size required to be between three and twelve learners per calendar. The competition proved to be popular with schools with all calendars being submitted by the time entries closed. The team of judges was convened by Bridgestone’s Errol Momsen on April 10, and they painstakingly sifted through the entries, looking for that unique and artistic approach which had the hallmark of a winner. Helena Atkinson, regional manager of the Eco-schools programme run by WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa), said that all the entries showed a great appreciation for Cape leopards. “The use of colour and drawings in the calendars was very inspiring and it was tough to pick a winner,” she said.
After much deliberation, third place went to Observatory Junior School, with second place being snapped up by Pringle House Eco-Primary. But it was first place that created a dilemma and after much discussion, the judges awarded a tie to the schools from Kommetjie and Muizenberg.
“The judges were impressed by the quality of work turned out, and the first place tie shows the difficulty they faced in selecting a winner,” Lovell said. This sentiment was echoed by Cape Leopard Trust’s Education Programme Coordinator, Elizabeth Martins, who said she was touched by the sincerity and effort that the children applied to their calendars. “I’m also pleased to see that some of the schools that have been on sponsored camps before, entered the competition,” she added.
The next step would be to print the winning calendars, professionally done by Bridgestone, after which they will be distributed to raise awareness for the Trust. We expect the calendars to be available to the public, direct from The Cape Leopard Trust, by the third quarter of 2013.