ePals, National Geographic and Airbus Help Students ‘See the Bigger Picture’ with Student Photo Contest


HERNDON, VA. (Aug. 31, 2009) – ePals, Inc., National Geographic and Airbus have teamed up to encourage students worldwide to "See the Bigger Picture" by participating in a special photo contest focusing on sustainability and biodiversity.  The deadline for photo submissions is Sept. 8, 2009.


Educators and students can find out more information about the photo contest by visiting the ePals Biodiversity Focus Area.  Through this interactive online area in the ePals Global Community, students can learn about biodiversity and the importance of conservation, while getting ideas about what to capture with their cameras.  Students also can enter the contest by logging onto www.seethebiggerpicture.org.


More than 1,300 students from countries all over the world have already submitted their photographs.  In the United States and Canada, students ages 6-14 are eligible to take part (in the rest of the world, the age eligibility is 6-16).


The photo contest was designed to support The Green Wave project – a United Nations initiative to educate young people about biodiversity and how to help build a more sustainable future.  "’See the Bigger Picture’ is a contest about celebrating the beautiful and diverse world we live in," said award-winning National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore.  "Through this contest, we are asking students to grab a camera and show us what biodiversity means to them."


Five grand prizewinners will be selected for an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where they will meet Sartore and spend time at the headquarters of the National Geographic Society.


"Through the ePals Biodiversity Focus Area, students can learn how to make an immediate and real impact on conservation.  Educators can find tips, tools and lesson plans to help students understand biodiversity and sustainability efforts," said Laurence Roth, EVP of Marketing and Business Development for ePals.  "All of these resources are available for free through the ePals Global Community.  We encourage students around the world to learn more about biodiversity and apply their knowledge to their photographs."


About National Geographic

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations.  Founded in 1888 to "increase and diffuse geographic knowledge," the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet.  It reaches more than 370 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 9,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects, and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy.  For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.


About The Green Wave

The Green Wave project is an ambitious outreach program established by the Convention on Biological Diversity, a United Nations treaty.  It aims to raise awareness among young people – tomorrow’s decision makers – of the importance of biodiversity.  On May 22nd each year, schools across the world will each plant a local tree species at 10 a.m. local time – uniting to send a "green wave" from east to west around the planet.  For more information, visit http://greenwave.cbd.int/.


About Airbus

Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern, eco-efficient and comprehensive family of airliners on the market, ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats.  The largest member of the Airbus family, the 525-seat A380, is greener, cleaner, quieter, and smarter than the closest competition, setting new standards for air transport and the environment.  Spearheading research and use of advanced eco-friendly materials and alternative fuels, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities throughout Europe as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China, Japan, and in the Middle East.  Airbus is an EADS company.  For more information, visit www.airbus.com.


About ePals, Inc.

Founded in 1996 and merged with In2Books® in 2006, ePals offers K-12 students and teachers around the world a safe environment for building and exchanging knowledge based on protected connectivity tools, evidence-based curricula and authentic, collaborative learning experiences.  The ePals Global Community™ (www.epals.com) is the largest online community of K-12 learners, enabling more than half a million educators and millions of students across 200 countries and territories to safely connect, exchange ideas, and work together.  The company’s mission is to support lifelong learning through collaborative experiences that empower and inspire.  ePals is especially committed to enabling academically rigorous educational opportunities in economically disadvantaged environments worldwide through the ePals Foundation – provider of In2Books, the company’s flagship literacy e-mentoring program.


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