Bayer USA Foundation Bestows $10,000 World Environment Day Community Grant to Arbor Day Foundation for Omaha Environmental Education Project
Omaha, Neb. - June 5, 2009 – In honor of World Environment Day 2009, the North American exhibition of the International Children’s Painting Competition (ICPC) on the Environment was unveiled today in Omaha at Omaha Children’s Museum by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bayer Corporation officials.
The exhibition features 60 paintings created by children from the United States and Canada that address this year’s ICPC theme, “Climate Change: Our Challenge.”
Alice Fuzi Wang, a sixth-grader from Palo Alto, Calif., who was named the first-place North American ICPC winner earlier this spring, was in Omaha for the exhibition opening. Omaha is the host city for this year’s World Environment Day festivities in North America.
Wang joined representatives from UNEP, Bayer and the City of Omaha, as well as Dr. Mae C. Jemison, to view the paintings that depict the children’s solutions to global climate change. Bayer Corporation is a North American region sponsor of the United Nations World Environment Day and the ICPC competition. Bayer AG is a global sponsor.
“Bayer is proud and honored to partner with UNEP to help sponsor World Environment Day and the painting competition,” said Greg Babe, President and CEO of Bayer Corporation. “Bayer recognizes that when it comes to climate change, we all must accept our responsibility and take actions that help to protect our environment. No one is ever too old or too young to embrace this responsibility.”
At the exhibition opening, UNEP and Bayer also announced two winners of the “Omaha’s Best” prize. Grace Yan Fogland, a fifth-grader at Rockbrook Elementary School was presented the prize in the 10- to 14-year-old category, while Vyanna McIntosh, a fourth-grader at Washington Elementary School, won in the six- to nine-year-old category.
Amy Fraenkel, Director of UNEP RONA, added, “Youth are our strongest hope for change, and UNEP is proud to be working with Bayer to ensure that the next generation of leaders are engaged in the global discussions on the environment. We are grateful for Bayer’s support of the children’s painting competition and World Environment Day.”
Along with the ICPC first-place and Omaha winners, a group of Omaha-area students, ages six to eight, were on hand for the unveiling of the painting exhibition, which will be on display at Omaha Children’s Museum until September 6. Leading them through the exhibition and an interactive environmental workshop featuring experiments on climate change was Dr. Mae C. Jemison, physician, environmental studies professor and the nation’s first African-American female astronaut. The students constructed pinwheels to learn how to harness wind energy and experimented with temperature changes to make ice cream.
“Knowledge of our environment is a critical component of science literacy. And today, more than ever, science literate citizens are required for a robust country,” said Dr. Mae. C. Jemison, who also serves as national spokesperson for Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense(R) (MSMS) program. “By supporting World Environment Day and the International Children’s Painting Competition, in one stroke, Bayer and UNEP are fostering student understanding of the connection between science, the environment and each one of us.”
In addition, as part of the World Environment Day activities in Omaha, the Bayer USA Foundation awarded its annual $10,000 World Environment Day Grant to the Arbor Day Foundation for a student environmental education program. This year’s grant finances the planting of 500 indigenous trees in and around Omaha as part of UNEP’s “Seven Billion Tree Campaign.”
The Arbor Day Foundation and Omaha Children’s Museum have enlisted local students to plant red dogwood, white oak, Norway spruce and other varieties in Tranquility Park. The trees will be nurtured there for a few years and then replanted in locations throughout Omaha under the care of the Arbor Day Foundation.
One of the trees, a flowering dogwood, was planted at Omaha Children’s Museum by the children, Jemison and Carly the Cardinal, the Arbor Day Foundation’s mascot. The work gave them a lesson in “biosequestration” – just how valuable trees are to healthy communities. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen—enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. In addition, the net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-sized air conditioners operating for 20 hours.
The ICPC is a signature event of UNEP’s World Environment Day celebrations held annually on June 5 since 1972. It invites elementary and middle school students worldwide, ages six to 14, to learn more about the environment and express that knowledge creatively through art. Regional winners from UNEP’s six global regions of Africa; Asia and the Pacific; West Asia; North America; Latin America and the Caribbean; and Europe are announced on Earth Day in April. This year, the global winners will be announced in August from Daejon, South Korea, at UNEP’s bi-annual TUNZA International Youth Conference sponsored by Bayer.
Bayer Corporation supports the ICPC and World Environment Day as part of the company’s national award-winning MSMS program. Each fall, Bayer launches the painting competition in six of its local MSMS site communities, including Pittsburgh; the San Francisco Bay area; the Greater Kansas City area; Northern Indiana; Northern New Jersey; and New Martinsville, W.Va.
About World Environment Day
World Environment Day is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. With thousands of events in the six UNEP regions, World Environment Day is considered the largest environmental event of its kind. Bayer AG and Bayer Corporation are global and regional sponsors, respectively, of World Environment Day.
About Bayer Corporation and Making Science Make Sense(R)
Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and high-tech materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2008 net sales of approximately 8 billion euros (about $12 billion) and employed 17,000 at year-end. Bayer’s three subgroups, Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and Bayer MaterialScience, improve people’s lives through a broad range of essential products that help diagnose, prevent and treat diseases; protect crops and enhance yields; and advance automobile safety and durability. For more information, go to www.bayerus.com.
Making Science Make Sense(R) (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 country 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 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 that, in August 2007, was extended by another three years. 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 science forum in Asia-Pacific Eco-Minds, the International Children’s Painting Competition 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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