Students encouraged to enter conservation writing and art contests

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With a new school year now under way, the search for Kentucky's finest youth writers and artists also begins. Students in first grade through high school seniors are encouraged to submit creative writing and artistic entries for the annual Conservation Writing and Art Contests sponsored by Kentucky Farm Bureau and the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts.

This year's competition, featuring a writing contest for grades six through 12 and the Jim Claypool Conservation Art Contest for grades one through five, is themed "Kentucky's Forests: Branching Out."

hile creativity is a key component to the contests, students will be challenged to think about the environment around them and the efforts they can take to help preserve it. Participants are tasked to share their ideas through short essays and artwork, persuading their readers and viewers to take action toward wildlife conservation efforts.

A better understanding of the benefits that forest conservation brings to Kentucky's landscape is something that can be enjoyed for generations to come, but this competition also rewards its participants for the time and effort required to create their entries. County-level winners receive a $25 award, regional winners get $50 and the state winners collect $250 for first place, $150 for second place and $50 for third place.

In last year's competition, focusing on Kentucky's wildlife, students from 89 different counties submitted a total of 17,189 writing entries while creating an additional 42,924 art entries from 98 counties.

Entries for the 2012 competition must be received at the student's local conservation district office by Dec. 1.

To learn more about the contests and download resource materials, including a teacher's guide, contest entry form and report forms, visit kyfb.com/federation or conservation.ky.gov.