By: Carmen Hall

The 15-year-old took out the Science without Borders Challenge that highlights important ocean conservation issues.

The 2017 theme was “Reef SuperSpecies” and participants were challenged to depict an organism that had adapted to a deadly threat facing coral reefs.

The Tauranga Girls College student impressed the judges with her stunning portrait of a liberty turtle.

Rebecca told the Science without Borders judges it ”offered the opportunity to combine her love of creating art with my concern for the future of the marine environment.”

”While conservation of the environment is so important to New Zealanders, the grounding of the Rena container ship on the Astrolabe reef off the coast of my hometown of Tauranga brought the destruction of marine ecosystems to my doorstep. It was easy for me to engage in the challenge with this in mind.”

To enhance the turtle, Rebecca gave it claw-like adaptations on its shell to cut the nets.

”The shell can change colour as well so it can blend in with the reef.”

She spent several days creating the turtle using coloured pencils with a watercolour background.

Rebecca said her love for art started as soon as she was able to pick up a pencil.

”I’ve got more serious over the last three years and love it. I find my art helps relax me.”

No stranger to success, she won the We Love Maps competition last year and had already sold and commissioned several artworks.

Working in different mediums was another challenge, but Rebecca said she favoured charcoal.

”I find it easy to blend, and I like it because it has a big impact. I like to draw faces because I like eyes and expressions. I like to capture expressions coming through.”

Rebecca hoped to combine her passion for art, science and maths into a career.

”I am thinking of engineering and architecture.”

Her mum, Helen Seymour, said: ”She is amazing with what she draws and what comes out of her head.”

Science without Borders spokeswoman Amy Heemsoth said it received just under 280 entries from 28 countries, including Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia, Romania, and Australia.

There were high-school and middle-school entries, with Rebecca winning the high-school section ahead of students from the United States and Slovenia.

”I’m inspired by the stunning artwork that we received,” said Ms Heemsoth.

“The participants clearly put a lot of time, effort, creative energy, and talent into crafting their art.”

Source: Bay of Plenty Times

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