Registration still open for Youth Birding Competition – but only a week left to sign up
Four budding bird artists have been chosen as T-shirt Art Contest winners in Georgia’s Youth Birding Competition, the state Department of Natural Resources announced.
A yellow-rumped warbler drawn and painted by Decatur’s Angus Pritchard led all 121 contest entries. As grand prize winner, Pritchard, 14, a Renfroe Middle School eighth-grader, landed a $100 Michaels gift card and will have his painting featured on T-shirts at the Youth Birding Competition next 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 the environment,” said May, environmental outreach coordinator for the DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section. “Birds are a great hook since they’re beautiful, abundant and easy to watch.”
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.
All youth, from birding newcomers to veterans, are encouraged to register. The deadline is March 31.
Pritchard has been a regular in the art contest and the birding competition – including as a member of the winning team in 2013. His art entry this year also placed first in the Middle School Division. Other division art winners included:
- Primary (pre-K through second grade): A belted kingfisher painted by Amelia Courson, 8, a homeschooled second-grader from Cleveland.
- Elementary (third-fifth grade): Sophia Bobo’s red-bellied woodpecker. Bobo, 8, is a third-grader at Rock Spring Elementary in McDonough.
- High School (ninth-12th grade): A short-eared owl by Rosemary Kramer, 16, an 11th-grader at Upson-Lee High School in Thomaston and grand prize winner in the 2011 T-shirt Art Contest. (Kramer was also a teammate with Pritchard and three others on last year’s top birding team.)
As May knows, research shows the benefits of youth spending time outdoors, from enhanced learning to improved communication skills. But it’s even more exciting when the birding art contest helps make that connection.
“I was so thrilled to hear one parent say that this art contest piqued her daughter’s interest in nature, and how she now plays outside more and goes birding for fun!” May said.
Contest entries will be displayed and division winners honored during the awards banquet April 26 at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. Photos are available at www.flickr.com/photos/wildliferesourcesdivision. Click the set “2014 Youth Birding Competition T-shirt Art Contest.”
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.
On the Net
- T-shirt Art Contest winning entries: www.flickr.com/photos/wildliferesourcesdivision (click the set “2014 Youth Birding Competition T-shirt Art Contest”)
- Youth Birding Competition: Free bird-a-thon for youth from kindergarten through high school, 5 p.m. April 25 to 5 p.m. April 26. Deadline to register is March 31. Details: www.georgiawildlife.com/youthbirdingcompetition
- DNR Nongame Conservation Section: www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation
- Help conserve Georgia wildlife: www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation/support