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Jaedon (9) wins int. frog banner competition

Nine-year old Jaedon wins international frog banner competition!

Hop on down to Auckland Zoo to see the eight vibrant winning entries of an international Frog Focus Banner Competition on display from Wednesday, 19 November until the end of January.

This 2003 competition, sponsored through Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) Frog Focus programme challenged creative school students of all ages from Australia and New Zealand to design a banner with a ‘frog theme’. A winner and up to 20 runners up were selected for each of the seven Australian states and New Zealand from the 4,700 entries received.

“I think it’s so cool that I won,” said excited nine-year-old Jaedon Harema, the New Zealand overall winner.

Jaedon, who wants to be an artist when he grows up, attends Rotokawa School near Rotorua. Jaedon’s colourful design has won him a $100 cash prize, a copy of his banner and a certificate, as well as a once in a lifetime day trip to Auckland Zoo on Wednesday, 19 November.

The ASX has been involved in sponsoring frog conservation through Frog Focus since 1999 and the banner competition provided an ideal (and fun) educational medium.

“Frogs are declining everywhere in the world, so the competition was a fantastic opportunity to profile their fight for survival. Kids are really into frogs and it created a great hook for some educational initiatives,” says Leigh Wither, Manager of Auckland Zoo’s Education Service.

Leigh travelled to Taronga Zoo in Sydney as one of the judges for the competition. “I was blown away by the number of entries and by the quality and creativity of the designs. They’re absolutely divine.”

The 13 New Zealand runners up are spread from Christchurch to Whangarei, and range from 6 – 14 years of age. Two of them, Tahnee Ormsby and Nicola Sleet, also attend Rotokawa School. This lucky pair, along with the school’s principal and teacher will accompany winner, Jaedon, to Auckland. Neither Jaedon nor Tahnee has flown before, so it’s going to be a real red-letter day!

They’ll be met at the airport and brought to the zoo for a ‘VIP’ visit, including meeting Zoo Director Glen Holland, who will make a special presentation to the prize winners. The students will also get to go behind the scenes with zoo keepers to meet some zoo residents. Then it’s off to Kelly Tarlton’s to round off a truly memorable day before flying home.

The eight winning banners will be on display on the ASX Frog Focus website (www.asxfrogfocus.com) and at participating organisations; Taronga Zoo, Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, Adelaide Zoo, Perth Zoo, Queensland’s Sea World, selected sites in Tasmania and Northern Territory, and Auckland Zoo.

The Frog Focus Banner display dovetails with a new frog exhibit scheduled to open this summer at the zoo featuring the tiny and fascinating Archey’s frog. Now believed to only be in Coromandel and one site west of Te Kuiti, Archey’s is the smallest native frog, growing up to just 37mm.

Of at least seven species of New Zealand frogs, only Archey’s, Hamilton’s, Hochstetter’s and the Maud Island frog remain.

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