Monthly Archives: November, 2014

YPARD Photo-Calendar Contest – Soils through Youth’s Eyes

Why Soil Matters?

Soil constitutes the foundation of agriculture and thus provides us with food, fiber, feed and fuel. Soil provides ecosystem services critical for life: soil acts as a water filter and a growing medium; provides habitat for billions of organisms, contributing to biodiversity. Besides, almost all of the antibiotics we take to help us fight infections are obtained from soil microorganisms! Humans use soil as a holding facility for solid waste, filter for waste water, and foundation for our cities and towns. It is the greatest pool of soil organic carbon and regulates the nutrient cycle.

However, for a multiple of reasons, including modern agricultural practices, deforestation, and overgrazing, the world’s soil is at risk. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), “Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years.” Additionally, “as a result of erosion over the past 40 years, 30 percent of the world’s arable land has become unproductive.”

Due to the importance of sustainable soil management for present and future generations,the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils with the aim to raise awareness about this forgotten natural resource.

Soils through Youth´s Eyes

For the celebration of the International Year of Soils, the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) kicks-off a photo-calendar contest with the scope of creating a photo-calendar for 2015 with the theme “Soils through Youth’s Eyes.”

By launching this photo contest, YPARD aims to engage young people into the discussions around the importance of soils. Pictures related to soils, sent by YPARD members from around the world, will help illustrate the importance of this key thematic area of FAO´s work, from the youth’s perspective.

How can I participate?

Participants will have one month to submit up to 3 pictures to with subject line “Photo-calendar contest”. Pictures must transmit the potential, contribution and importance of healthy soils in the food system according to young professionals in agricultural development. Send your pictures to participate in the “Soils through Youth´s Eyes” photo-calendar contest by December the 14th, 2014 (11pm CET).

All the photo entries will undergo a jury’s selection first. The public will then vote among the best 24 pictures, from 19th of December to 26th of December, through a photo album created on YPARD Facebook page.

There will be two photos spotted for each month. E.g. 2 pictures for January, 2 pictures for February and so on. YPARD Facebook users will be able to vote the picture they like the most for every month by “liking” it.

The 12 most-“liked” pictures will be chosen to feature our “Soils through Youth´s Eyes” photo-calendar for 2015. The YPARD “Soils through Youth´s Eyes” photo-calendar will be posted on our e-library.

Jury and prizes

The jury of the “Soils through Youth´s Eyes” photo-calendar contest will be formed by a YPARD member staff with the support of a photographer.

The best 12 images will be announced as winners on YPARD website on the 28th of December, 2014 and will be awarded with their featuring on the 2015 YPARD “Soils through Youth´s Eyes” photo-calendar. The winning photos will be also published (photo credits included) on FAO Global Soil Partnership’s website.


  • Entrants should be between 18-40 years old and must have taken the photograph themselves.
  • Photographs may have been taken at any time prior to the contest launch.
  • Photographs should not have dates or text on the image.
  • Each participant can send up to three photographs.
  • All photographs should be in jpeg format.
  • Along with the picture, participants should add the following information: name, surname, date of birth, email, title and description of photograph, location and date when photo was taken.
  • Entrants should be members of YPARD:


  • File size: Minimum size is 1500 x 2100 pixels; min 300dpi; up to 5 MB.
  • Image data files should be created with digital smartphones and still cameras (including medium and large-format cameras).
  • Images that have been retouched using software or by other means will be accepted. Both colour and monochrome images will be accepted. (Scans of photographs taken by film cameras are not eligible.)
  • Winning entries may be reproduced for possible inclusion in future International Year of Soils promotional materials. Entry in this contest represents consent to use the photo in future publications without further compensation.


This content was originally posted on YPARD‘s website.


Call for Applications: 5th Global Environments Summer Academy (GESA 2015), Switzerland

Global Environments Summer Academy 2015

The fifth Global Environments Summer Academy on Socio-ecological Interactions in a Dynamic World will be held at the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern between 27 July and 14 August 2015. Under the leadership of Dr. Gary J. Martin, the Director of GDF, academic and community professionals from diverse backgrounds will be invited to present their current perspectives and practical work.GESA

Please see the GESA 2014 Schedule for a sense of the general curriculum. For more detailed descriptions of GESA schedules and sessions, click here. Participants will actively interact with selected resource people throughout the course.

You can support this initiative by liking the Global Environments Summer Academy Facebook page or contributing to our GlobalGiving fundraising campaign. To receive updates via the GESA newsletter, sign up here.

Please note there is a two-stage application process for GESA 2015. Candidates are invited to complete the application form and upload their CV before 15 January 2015. All applicants will be notified of the first stage results by 15 February 2015, and finalists will be invited to the second stage, during which they will be asked for additional information, including any demonstrated need for the limited number  of partial fee waivers that may be offered. The additional Stage 2 submission will be due by 15 March 2015. A final selection of participants will be completed by 1 May 2015, and applicants will be informed of the award of any fee waiver by 1 June 2015. The deadline for payment of the academy fee will be 15 June 2015.

Additional information:

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