By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Zoo has announced the winners of a school art contest designed to let people know about industries threatening the habitat of the orangutan.
The zoo put up cash prizes for schools to create art campaigns that illustrate the connection between palm oil — an ingredient in products including snack chips, crackers, and candy — and the habitat of the orangutan.
Environmentalists claim that wild orangutans are threatened with extinction because Indonesian forests are being razed to make way for palm oil plantations.
Kristen Lewis-Waldron, the zoo’s director of education, says about 3,000 students at 83 area schools took part in an art competition about the issue.
“We had a school change their mascot to an orangutan,” Lewis-Waldron notes. “They had school murals that lined the hallways of the entire school. We have a quilt of hope that one of the schools — Bethel Springs Elementary School (in Garnet Valley, Pa.) — put together.”
The Chester County Technical College High School took the grand prize of $5,000.
A statement on the Palm Oil Truth Foundation web site calls the environmentalists’ claims “grossly inaccurate and highly misleading.”