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Water Conference Seeks Student Contestants, Volunteers

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Jan. 31, 2008 — Students across the territory are invited to enter a "Let's Talk Water!" poetry, essay and art contest. With a focus on water conservation and protection, the contest is part of the observance of United Nations World Water Day.
Winners will be announced March 21 and 22 at the World Water Day conference and festival at UVI's St. Croix campus.
The contest, conference and festival are sponsored by the World Waterway Institute in conjunction with the University of the Virgin Islands' Water Resources Research Institute and the V.I. Marine Advisory Service.
"We believe it is essential to get students involved and thinking about the value of water. We also think students can enlighten us on creative ways to think about water resources and how to conserve and protect them," conference organizer Lydia Harris said.
Henry Smith, who heads the Water Resources Research Institute, said that the conference will raise awareness about worldwide water issues.
"We have some pretty novel solutions, but we can learn from the outside and the outside world can learn from us," Smith said.
In 1992, the United Nations designated March 22 as World Water Day. According to the UN website, more than one billion people around the world lack clean, safe drinking water and more than 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation services. The crisis is worst in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The deadline for contest entries is March 1. Prizes will be announced at a later date.
All students in grades one through graduate school are eligible. Submissions must address water conservation and/or protection. Students may submit entries in one or more categories.
Entries in all categories will be judged in the following groups: grades one to three, four to six, seven to nine, 10 to 12, and college to graduate students.
Students will have the chance to share their work on March 22 at an outdoor festival on UVI's St. Croix campus. Winning entries will be printed on a 2009 calendar that will be sold throughout the Virgin Islands and other locations.
The first day will be a conference made up of water resources experts, environmentalists, representatives of government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, students and others with an interest in water conservation and protection and in creating public education campaigns.
The keynote speaker is William E. Marks, author of "Water Voices from Around the World" and "The Holy Order of Water." Marks also consulted on and contributed to the new documentary film "Flow: For the Love of Water," which had its world premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The film will be shown at the conference and festival.
The second day of the event will be an outdoor festival open to the public that will include games for children, music, remarks by religious and spiritual leaders, streaming video of celebrities, environmentalists and world leaders, talks by government officials and environmentalists, and displays by commercial and industrial representatives. Local arts and crafts as well as food will be for sale.
David Carradine and The Cosmic Rescue Team headline the entertainment. Carradine is best known for his role in the 1970s television series "Kung Fu"; as "Bill" in the Quentin Tarantino "Kill Bill" movies; and, today, for his yellowbook.com commercials.
"Let's Talk Water!" will be recorded and a DVD will be made for distribution throughout the Caribbean, United States and Canada. It also will be translated and distributed worldwide.
Harris said volunteers and sponsors are needed for the conference and festival.
Contest rules and official entry forms are being sent to all primary and secondary schools in the territory. To receive an entry form, volunteer, become a sponsor or contributor or for more information, e-mail Lydia Harris at [email protected] or call 642-1133.
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