Langkawi 18-20 October 2008. How does nature photography help nature conservation? The Sony Nature Photography (SNP) Competition held here in Langkawi 18-20th October is the perfect example… SNP is an annual competition, into its 4th year. Every year, the organizers (Sony Malaysia, Click! Magazine and Malaysian Nature Society) take students into exotic and nature destinations to connect each participant with nature and its splendour. This competition is the first and only one of its kind in Malaysia and has a strong nature conservation and awareness message, thanks to the funds by Sony Malaysia, the technical expertise of Click! and the natural guidance and interpretation by MNS. This year, the SNP took an even greener slant by; Introducing participants not only to one of the most interesting islands in Malaysia, but to photograph important conservation site/s and wildlife that are threatened by development.Participants from about 10 different schools, including first timers schools from Sabah & Sarawak were also introduced to a very eco friendly event… packed lunch and water bottles were named and reused throughout the camp, lessening the ecological footprint towards the environment. Participants were introduced to local conservationist, Irshad Mobarak, the Junglewalla of Langkawi who gave a 10 minute talk on his passion, Hornbills and Conservation of Langkawi. Irshad also graciously agreed to act as a panel judge for the SNP competition later that same night. Irshad’s story about a poacher killing a Great hornbill was heartfelt and visibly touched the students and their teachers and it most definitely left an impression on the participants that we all have a role to play .. for the participants, is to capture nature in a digital format and tell the world that nature should be protected.. MNS facilitators were a class of their own, assisting in the facilitation of the event and acting as nature advisors and interpreters to the objects that were photographed by the students. MNS has a long term plan to pursue the conservation of Langkawi’s natural biodiversity, stemming from their 2002 Langkawi Expedition that saw first ever scientific expedition to documents and protect the islands biodiversity. Click! Magazine was another important and technical partner to the SNP. With their expertise and experience, their facilitators gave tips and advice to participants on their camera and photography techniques. A thrilling conclusion SNP Competition 2008 was the announcement of the eventual winners – The “Borneon Bristlehead”, of St Mary’s Secondary School, Kuching, Sarawak. Kuching. This is the first time, a school from East Malaysia has won the SNP, congrats to them and their effort. Ms. Connie Goh of Sony Malaysia, the coordinator of the SNP, added that she was astonished and proud of the entries by St Mary’s and is planning to enter the photos for their regional award. Photographers are another group of people that can bring the general public closer to nature and inspire nature conservation. We will conserve things we appreciate and love and as a famous saying by John C Sawhill goes “In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy”. Lets hope the authorities, visitors and the local communities will join forces with the Malaysian Nature Society to protect and conserve Langkawi’s natural assets.