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Area Schools Compete in Philadelphia Zoo Contest To Save Orangutans Worldwide

(Chester County Technical College High School won the top prize.  Credit: Mike DeNardo)

(Chester County Technical College High School won the top prize. Credit: Mike DeNardo)

Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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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.”

orang quilt Area Schools Compete in Philadelphia Zoo Contest To Save Orangutans Worldwide

(A "quilt of hope" created by students at the Bethel Springs Elementary School. Credit: Mike DeNardo)

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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.”

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