U.S. Embassy invites Chilean high school students to participate on an Earth Day Comics Contest

comic panel
Comics Contest

In celebration of Earth Day 2014 on April 22, the Embassy of the United States in Chile is inviting Chilean high school students to participate in a comics contest. The contest will focus on the disappearance of bees around the world.

The contest is open for all Chilean high school students between the ages of 13 and 18. Each participant must finish the comic strip “Sam Spadebee, Private Detective” by adding 1 or 2 panels.

The goals of the contest is to show that all organisms in our planet have a vital role to play in the ecosystem while  also  promoting English language learning.

The enigmatic disappearance of bees around the world

For some time now, millions of honeybees in many countries have vanished. In the United States alone, more than 25% of the honey bee population has disappeared since 1990. This phenomenon is known as ‘Colony Collapse Disorder’ and was first identified by American beekeeper David Hackenberg. Several theories about the cause of colony collapse disorder have been put forward in recent years but there is no scientific consensus on the subject. Bees play a key role in pollinating plants, flowers and crops, and if this alarming situation continues, this could affect the production of a variety of crops such as vegetables and fruits.

Who can participate? How much does it cost to participate?

Chilean high school students between the ages of 13 to 18 years old are invited to participate, including students from public, private or subsidized schools from all regions of Chile.

Direct family members (sons or daughters) of U.S. Embassy staff in Chile are not eligible to participate.

The contest is free for all Chilean high school students interested in drawing comics.

What are the prizes?

The first place winner will receive an Ipad Wifi Retina (16 GB) and a collection of graphic novels (The Watchmen, Maus Vol I – II, and Moby Dick).
The second place contestant will be awarded a Kindle Fire HD tablet and the aforementioned collection. The third place winner will receive a collection of graphic novels.

How can a student participate?

Each participant must follow three steps to participate:

  1. Fill up an online form found at the following address: http://tinyurl.com/phj447w
  2. Download the comic strip entitled ‘Sam Spadebee, Private Detective’. The PDF document can be downloaded at:  http://photos.state.gov/libraries/chile/231771/general_2013/samspadebee.pdf (PDF 863 KB – Get Adobe Reader)
  3. Add 1 or 2 panels to the comic entitled ‘Sam Spadebee, Private Detective.’ It’s not necessary to imitate the comic’s drawing style but the submission should remain consistent with the comic’s storyline, characters and English language dialogue.  The submission should  propose, in a comic format, an explanation of or theory about why the bees are disappearing that shows evidence of some background research on the part of the contestant.

Additional instructions

  • Contestants may print and draw the required 1 – 2 panels on sampspadebee.pdf , scan it and send it back to  ircchile@state.gov.
  • Alternately, contestants may use a software program (Example: Adobe Photoshop) to draw the panels and send your drawings in JPG or PNG file format to the same email address.
  • For questions you might have, send an email to ircchile@state.gov .

The strongest submissions will be those that demonstrate evidence that the contestant has  have done some research and investigation into the issue of the disappearance of bees.

Suggested Related Reading

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a useful website on pollinators, including details about National Pollinators Week in the United States (June 16-24, 2014)

This extensive U.S. Department of Agriculture website has numerous resources about the history of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), links to research articles about the causes, and information about the threat of CCD to the health of honey bees, to economic stability of commercial beekeeping and pollination operations, to overall agriculture, and to food security.   The website states that reasons for CCD are still unknown but points out ways researchers’ have enhanced and improved been management practices to respond to the threat.