Friday, December 26, 2008

Wanted: Young Artists for '09 YBC T-shirt Art Contest

AAG Note: Looking for a way to keep children busy now that Santa has made his big entrance this year? Spend some time together and look for birds. This contest is a great event to entertain the young and old alike. Enjoy!

Linda May admits she was “blown away” by the creativity of the artwork submitted in this year’s Youth Birding Competition T-shirt Art Contest. Now the wildlife interpretive specialist is bracing for the 2009 contest and offering these tips for budding Audubons.

“Brighter, simpler pieces of artwork will probably do better than ones that are busier or faded,” said May, who coordinates the contest. “The bird really needs to be the focus of the artwork.”

Started this year and returning for the April 25-26 statewide birding competition, the art contest is open to Georgia resident youth from pre-K through high school. A winner will be picked from each of four age categories: primary (pre-K through second grade), elementary (third-fifth grade), middle (sixth-eighth grade) and high school.

One of these category winners will be awarded the grand prize. Their artwork will be printed on the 2009 Youth Birding Competition T-shirt and they will receive a $100 gift card to Michaels. The three other winners will receive $50 Michaels gift cards for art supplies.

Participants must draw or paint their favorite Georgia bird on at least 8½- by 11-inch white paper (not larger than 11 by 17) and mail the entry in a large, envelope (flat, not folded) by March 2, 2009, to: Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, YBC Art Contest, 543 Elliott Trail, Mansfield, GA 30055. Participants should consider using bold colors in their drawings to better display the artwork on a T-shirt.

On a separate piece of paper, participants should include their name, school, age, grade level, mailing address, phone number and the species name of the bird in the artwork. Birds depicted must be native to Georgia (no exotic species accepted). Only one entry per person is allowed. Each entry must be the child’s original artwork.

Participation in the Youth Birding Competition is encouraged but not required to submit artwork for the T-shirt Art Contest. Birding competitors may pick up their submissions at the April 26 banquet at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, where select artwork will be displayed and the winners announced. The artwork of youth who do not take part in the birding competition will be returned only if they provide a large, self-addressed envelope with three first-class stamps.

Last year’s art contest drew 195 entries. Kelly Redford O’Mara, a senior at Darlington School in Rome, won the grand prize with a vivid painting of a blue-gray gnatcatcher.

The 2009 Youth Birding Competition starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, and ends at

5 p.m. Sunday, April 26. Groups may use as much or as little of that time to count as many birds as possible throughout Georgia. Although teams may start birding anywhere in the state, they must arrive at the “finish line” at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield by 5 p.m. Sunday. While judges examine and score the final checklists, participants will enjoy a live animal show followed by an awards banquet with amazing prizes, including new binoculars for the grand-prize winning team.

For T-shirt Art Contest details and tips, visit the Wildlife Resource Division’s Web site at (click the “Get Involved” tab and the birding competition link) or contact Linda May, (770) 784-3059 or

For more information on the Youth Birding Competition, including how to register a youth team, contact contest coordinator Tim Keyes at (478) 994-1438 or

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