Meet Dana Our 2021 Art Contest Winner (Ages 11-14)

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We hope that you enjoyed meeting Sharon, the first-place winner for ages 15-19 of our 2021 Science Without Borders® Challenge

I can’t wait to introduce you to Dana, a thirteen-year-old from Seoul, South Korea, who is studying abroad at Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, Connecticut. Her artwork titled “Shelter” illustrates how many animals, like octopi, utilize the mangroves for protection. 

When I spoke to Dana, she opened-up about her contest experience. I found out that she had never heard of mangroves before our contest; however, once she started to learn about these unique marine trees and their functions, she became very interested in the topic. Dana became so fascinated by mangroves, that she would even like to learn more about them and create a website to teach others about this important ecosystem. 

Learn more from my interview with Dana about what she learned from this experience, why she wants others to learn about mangroves, and so much more. Our conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Dana and her winning piece of artwork, “Shelter.”

Q: What do you want people to get out of the artwork you created?

A: I hope people become more interested in mangrove trees, like me. I really hope more people can become educated by learning about the importance of these unique trees, especially because they help the environment. In my piece, I specifically want people to know that the mangrove tree is a safe, cozy shelter for many sea creatures.

Q: What did you learn by participating in the Science Without Borders® Challenge?

A: By participating in this contest, I learned more information about the environment than I expected that I would. I found out that mangrove trees provide protection from strong ocean waves and tsunamis, prevent erosion, and provide habitat for fishes and aquatic animals. This made me think about how their existence is really crucial to our environment.

Q: Why is the ocean important to you?

A: Being a member of planet Earth, the ocean is a very important resource to our human lives, and for me. Covering over 70% of the surface of the Earth, it is a huge habitat for countless aquatic animals. The ocean is mysterious, but also a nourishing place, that brings various advantages to humans. I hope that many people can appreciate the benefits that nature provides us, and I hope that people help reduce harm caused to the ocean.

Q: What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to pursue a career in art or science?

A: From a young age, I have been interested in the arts. I have decided that my future career will involve some job pertaining to the arts. I hope to fully develop my art skills and join an art university near my hometown in Seoul. I am very grateful to win this amazing contest! I think this is a big step in progressing my art career.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is considering entering the Science Without Borders® Challenge?

A: This is a great opportunity to experience and learn about a new environmental science topic. For me, I learned so much helpful information about mangroves. It really made me deeply consider the significance of these trees as I was working on the artwork. It is also a fantastic opportunity to have some fun with art!


"Shelter" by Dana Chung, Age 13, South Korea
“Shelter” by Dana Chung, Age 13, South Korea

Mangrove forests are the barrier that protects locals from severe ocean waves and flooding, and also a shelter that protects sea animals. There are many various reasons that Mangrove trees are a valuable property for not just for humans, but also for the Earth. For this art piece, I depicted a safe, protective shelter that is for all aquatic animals.

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