On May 19th this year, the ConnectGREEN team declared the winners of the “Connectivity for all!” Youth Video Contest. Award ceremonies have been organised in all three participating countries – Romania, Slovakia and Serbia, and highly encouraging messages received from the participants and their entourage: a budding group of young and motivated environmentalists is forming to take on the challenge to preserve our biodiversity and natural ecosystems.
In Romania, the ConnectGREEN partners from the Piatra Craiului National Park Administration organised an awareness-raising event on June 4th in cooperation with the „Mitropolit Ioan Mețianu” Highschool from Zărnești, at which the Video Contest particpants were awarded their prizes. The winners were:Cristina Maria Mihalache (1st place), Mara Voicu (2nd place), Ioana Banu (3rd place) and a special award went to Gabriel Vilsan. Not only the contest winners, but all pupils, teaching staff and parents present at the event, were imparted with the aspiring message, conveyed by the children in their videos, that if we work together, we can preserve our natural environments.
Image 1.: Romania Award Cermony © PNCP
In neighbouring Serbia, the award ceremony was held on 24 and 25 May, within the existing restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.Representatives of the Institute of Architecture and Urban & Spatial Planning of Serbia, part of the ConnectGREEN consortium, presented the authors of the winning videos with their prizes and congratulated them on their excellent submissions. The high quality of the videos gives rise to hopes for more such outputs in the future to drive forward the cause of nature conservation in Serbia and beyond.
Image 2.: Serbia Award Cermony © IAUS
Image 3.: Serbia Award Cermony © IAUS
The third country to receive submissions in the Youth Video Contest was Slovakia: due to on-going pandemic restrictions, the physical prize ceremony was sadly rendered impossible, and so the prizes were instead presented to the participants in their homes, expedited by post. The Slovak ConnectGREEN partners received numerous expressions of gratitude and satisfaction from the contestants in response to the prizes and the contest. Teaching staff from participating schools, which received an Atlas of the Landscape of the Slovak Republic and additional books and DVDs with environmental themes were very happy with this enrichment of their school libraries, and claimed that this will enhance and support their environmental education.
Image 4.: Slovakia prize example "Hidden Treaures of the Carpathians" © WWF
Across the board, the ConnectGREEN team have been thrilled by the inspirational and moving videos produced by representatives of the project region’s youth in response to the “Connectivity for all!” contest. We hope that this overall positive experience will act as a catalyst for further interest in environmental issues for everyone involved and that it might even support some participants to become engaged in environmental projects and initiatives in their free time or to opt for career choices in the environmental sector in future.
As is the case around the globe, our region’s youth carry both the burden and the hope to change the relationship between humans and the environment for the better, and achieve a world in which nature and people can coexist in harmony.