ENVIRONMENTALISTS from the University of York will showcase winning entries from an East African school art competition to celebrate International Mountain Day.

Launching a drawing competition around the theme My Mountain, My Home, 269 submissions of artwork were received from 10 primary and secondary schools in Taita Hills, Kenya and Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

They were assessed by three judges from the CHIESA (Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa) project, and 35 drawings were chosen as winning entries. They are “on tour” in the UK and Finland before being auctioned off in Kenya.

Dr Rob Marchant, reader in the environment department at the University of York, said: “One of the interesting things to come from the project is the different perceptions the children have about their surrounding environment; some show a bountiful and verdant landscape whereas others show drought and death.

“Many from the schools on Kilimanjaro make a very strong division between the National Park and the surrounding agricultural landscapes. Ecologically these two broad areas are very much connected and the science project behind these artworks is to assess the connections between the natural ecosystems on mountains, people’s livelihoods and how these relationships are going to change in the future.”

Working closely with schools and local communities in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, the CHIESA project develops ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation in the agricultural East African Mountains.

The pictures will be on show at the University of York during a British Ecology Society conference on August 14 and August 15.