The primary poster from Molly De Saram and Maeve Finnegan.

The Cayman Turtle Centre has announced the winners of the primary school Poster competition and the high school essay competition.

The winners were determined using a blind selection process via a panel of volunteer judges from the Turtle Centre, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands and the Guy Harvey Foundation. The contest winners will be taking part in the release of the Turtle Centre’s parrot triplets into the wild on May 19 at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. The three captive-bred female Grand Cayman parrots were hatched in May 2016, raised in the Turtle Centre’s Caribbean Aviary and trained to be wild.

Students in Years 2 to 6 submitted posters of their own design depicting either conservation of parrots and/or their habitat, the importance of parrots in the environment, or parrots in Cayman’s history culture. The top three entries were submitted by Cayman Prep Year 5 students Jessica Drysdale and Minty Lumsden, Grace Christian Academy Year 2 student Gaven Ramos, and Cayman Prep Year 5 students Molly De Saram and Maeve Finnegan. The colorful posters covered a range of topics including parrot facts and history, as well as the need to protect them.

Students in years 7 to 11 submitted a 200-300 word essay on the same topics, with the winning essay elected based on relevance and accuracy of content and overall presentation. The top three entries were all from St. Ignatius: Year 9 student Beth Walton, and Year 10 students Aleigha General and Erica Sobers. The three students all highlighted the impacts of human development and habitat destruction on the birds’ continued ability to survive in the wild.

The primary category poster by Gaven Ramos.

“I was very impressed by the work and interest that had gone into producing these submissions by the high and primary school students,” said Turtle Centre terrestrial exhibits curator Geddes Hislop, who is overseeing the parrot release.

“I think it bodes well to see the level of interest and awareness in our next generation.”

Mr. Hislop noted the revised May release date will give time for organizers to implement the final health protocols for the birds, as well as being closer to the start of the rainy season, when the parrots’ natural feed trees will start producing wild fruits and berries, providing the inexperienced parrots an easier transition to foraging for their own food in the wild.

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