Four budding bird artists recently were selected as T-shirt Art Contest winners in Georgia’s 10th annual Youth Birding Competition, the state Department of Natural Resources announced.
A great-blue heron painted by Ivey Smith, a student at Blue Heron Art Studio in Carrollton, led all 254 contest entries. As grand-prize winner, Smith, 17, an 11th-grader at Carrollton High School, landed a $100 Michaels gift card and will have her artwork featured on T-shirts at the Youth Birding Competition at the end of this month.
Art contest coordinator Linda May praised participants and stressed that the focus “isn’t just about art.”
It’s about getting kids interested in the outdoors and connected to nature,” said May, environmental outreach coordinator for the DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section. “Birds are a great focus since they’re beautiful and easy to find.”
To encourage stewardship, an awareness and appreciation of wildlife and their habitats is essential. This contest helps form that foundation through art.
Seasoned participant Rosemary Kramer of Culloden said the challenge “kick-started her passion” for creating bird artwork when she won top honors in 2011. Since then, her artwork and her birding skills have improved. Now 17, Kramer loves to share her excitement about nature with others, and plans to compete in the Youth Birding Competition again this year on the Chaotic Kestrels team.
The T-shirt Art Contest is part of the Youth Birding Competition, an annual event in which teams of children and teens try to find as many bird species as possible throughout Georgia in 24 hours. This year, the free bird-a-thon runs from 5 p.m. April 25 to 5 p.m. April 26, ending in a banquet at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield. Registration for the birding competition ended March 31.
Ivey Smith’s art entry also placed first in the High School division. Other division art winners include:
- Primary (pre-K through second grade): summer tanager artwork by Colleen Cao of Norcross, 6, first-grader at SKA Academy of Art & Design in Duluth.
- Elementary (third-fifth grade): sanderling artwork by Yucheng Jonah Wu of Peachtree Corners, 9, fourth-grader at SKA Academy of Art & Design in Duluth.
- Middle School (sixth-eighth grade): cedar waxwing painting by Alina Svirida, 14, eighth-grader at Veterans Memorial Middle School in Covington.
Contest entries will be displayed and division winners honored during the awards banquet April 26 at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. Photos are posted at www.flickr.com/photos/wildliferesourcesdivision. Click the album “2015 YBC T-shirt Art Contest Winners.”
The birding competition and T-shirt Art Contest are sponsored by DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section, The Environmental Resources Network Inc. or TERN – friends group of the Nongame Conservation Section – and others including the Georgia Ornithological Society and Atlanta Audubon Society.
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