Story | 26 Oct, 2023

Students learn about nature through art in Lang Sen Wetland Nature Reserve

On 26-28 September 2023, IUCN collaborated with Lang Sen Wetland Nature Reserve (NR) to organise a nature and art event on the theme “I love wetlands in Lang Sen” at the Vinh Chau A, Vinh Loi, and the Vinh Dai Primary & Secondary Schools in Long An Province. The aim was to educate and raise awareness of students living in the buffer zone of Lang Sen on wetlands conservation.

In 2015, Lang Sen Wetland NR was recognized as Viet Nam’s seventh Ramsar site (a wetland of global importance) and the 2,227th in the world. The three buffer zone communes of Vinh Chau A, Vinh Dai, and Vinh Loi in Tan Hung District, cover 5,000 hectares of some of the last remaining seasonally flooded grasslands in the entire Dong Thap Muoi area.

The event, which was part of a 2-year project funded by PAN Group and CP Group to plant 17 hectares of melaleuca forest in the NR, included a painting contest using acrylics on canvas in each school. Painting on canvas using acrylics is a much more sophisticated, technically complex, and long lasting medium than the crayons on paper that schoolchildren usually use.

More than 500 students and 60 teachers joined the event along with representatives of PAN, CP, IUCN, and the media.

Students participating in the contest at Vinh Chau A school Photo: Students participating in the contest at Vinh Chau A school © IUCN Viet Nam


At the painting contest, 10 prizes were announced in each school: one first prize, two second prizes, three third prizes, and four consolation prizes. On 27 Oct 2023, the winner of the first prize in each school participated in a larger canvas painting to exhibit at Lang Sen NR office. Students reviewed books on bird species and wetlands biodiversity to develop ideas, draft the layouts and finalised the painting. See the painting below.

Three winners of the contest showed their canvas painting on wetlands ecosystemsPhoto: Three winners of the contest showed their canvas painting on wetlands ecosystems © IUCN Viet Nam


“I painted sarus cranes as I enjoyed them and would like to show the beauty of living creatures in wetlands. I hope to convey the message of protecting wildlife to our community” said Vo Thi My Duyen, a 9th grade student in Vinh Chau A who won first prize. Ha Bao Chau, a 7th grade student, shared “I am excited to learn how to mix acrylic color and paint on canvas materials”. She won the second prize for a painting of a lotus field in full bloom.

The first prize winner in Vinh Chau A school on 26 Sept 2023Photo: Ms. Vo Thi My Duyen - the first prize winner in Vinh Chau A school © IUCN Viet Nam


This is the first time these students have used acrylics on canvas, which they quickly mastered to paint colourful pictures showing the beauty of natural wetlands and native species such as lotus and sarus cranes. The students also learned about wetland ecosystems by answering quizzes on educational videos.

Through art, students can absorb and share knowledge on the Mekong Delta’s wetlands in creative and interactive ways and, hopefully, contribute to wetlands conservation in the long run.