Every summer vacation from high school since 2011, we have returned to our homes in Chengdu in Sichuan province in China from Seattle, Washington, in the US, to volunteer at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. During our time at the Chengdu Panda Base we learn how to take care of giant pandas. Giant pandas are like a time tunnel; they provide us with a view to our ancient past in the here and now. So, this year in order to educate our adopted community about giant pandas and environmental protection, we planned to hold a two day photography exhibition called “Love Pandas & Protect Nature” in Seattle.
First, we created a proposal to pitch to the Chengdu Panda Base. Our proposal won praise from the Base. Dr. Zhang Zhihe, the director, then arranged for his staff in the Conservation Education Department to teach us about giant panda. The educators also shared their experiences with holding exhibitions so we could improve ours. We also successfully solicited assistance from a company named Giant Panda House in China. Giant Panda House agreed to make display boards for us for free. But soon we realized that title exhibition was not going to be easy.
Our plans for exhibition included a giant panda quiz, interactive games, drawing pandas and a cartoon panda show. The list of things we wanted to do was dozens of pages long. Even worse, the site we had chosen for the exhibition was too small to meet our needs. We were afraid we might botch the whole thing, so we were thinking of giving up. When our parents learned that we wanted to quit, they informed us that we must finish what we had started. So, after extensive lobbying, the famous Seattle Factoria Mall, located among Bellevue’s business and retail distric, agreed to provide us with an exhibition space of more than 300m2 for 2.5 days for free. When we learned of this, all of our classmates who had volunteered for this event cheered.
At 10：00am on September 22, 2012, we opened the “Love Pandas & Protect Nature” at the Factoria MalL As we opened, two of our volunteers were dressed as fluffy giant pandas appeared in 也e small square outside our exhibition area. With the appearance of the two fluffy giant pandas there was a chorus of “Panda! Panda! Panda!” across the square. The shouts drew a crowd.
We watched our adult and kid visitors as they arrived; they smiled so sincerely when they saw the pandas. In the paintings area； American parents sat with their kids and drew giant pandas according to instructions for over 40 minutes with intent looks on their faces. In the photo exhibition area, viewers were surprised to see a giant panda cub that was as small as a mouse. Finally in the panda knowledge quiz, games and puzzles area, game winners were excited to choose their prizes.
The space filled with more and more visitors from all over the world. When they learned that this exhibition was organized and held by two high school students, they gave us a thumbs-up.
A Chinese American grandfather brought his eight-year-old grandson to the exhibition for two days in a row. The man said that he had never expected the creation of a strong giant panda culture in China and that Chinese people were giving a great gift to the world.
The two day exhibition ended too soon. Though volunteers were reluctant, they quietly and carefully took down the display boards. While we were removing the exhibition a lady entered and asked us about the details of the exhibition. At the end of the conversation she told us that she was actually the vice president of Microsoft and she hoped we would give the same exhibition to her company. We were thrilled to hear this good news; we could keep the exhibition items safe at our friends’ houses instead of putting them in the dump.
On September 28, the exhibition was successfully held again at the Washington based Microsoft office.