Georgia Wildlife Resources Division
2070 U.S. Hwy. 278, SE, Social Circle, GA 30025
Teachers and students across Georgia are invited to celebrate Georgia’s wildlife and students’ artistic interests by participating in the Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest. Whether exploring their schoolyard and backyard environments or taking a field trip to a nearby park, nature center or botanical garden, students are encouraged to share their plant and animal encounters through art in the 24th annual conservation poster contest.
This year’s competition theme, “Plug into Nature,” emphasizes the importance of connecting to wildlife and plants through firsthand experiences. Research shows that teachers who submerge their classes in nature increase their students’ ability to focus and make observations, to cooperate with others, and to achieve higher test scores. Even unstructured outdoor play yields a host of benefits. While technology is very useful at times, smart phones, electronic tablets and digital cameras best serve as supplements to natural encounters rather than replacements.
While game species are important to the wildlife diversity of Georgia, the poster contest focuses on nongame animals and native plant species. Nongame species (those not legally hunted or fished for) vary from rare animals and plants such as the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and the hooded pitcherplant to common species such as the northern cardinal and flowering dogwood.
Entries in the state-level contest must be received by April 16. The contest is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and The Environmental Resources Network, or TERN, friends group of the Nongame Conservation Section.
The contest is open to kindergarten through 5th-grade students in public schools, private schools and homeschool groups. Participants enter at the local school level with drawings that depict their observations of Georgia’s native nongame animals and plants. Top school-level entries proceed to the state contest at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens. First-, second- and third-place winners are chosen there for four divisions: kindergarten, first and second grade, third and fourth grade, and fifth grade.
The top 12 winners’ artwork will be showcased on the DNR Wildlife Resources Division Flickr site (www.flickr.com/photos/wildliferesourcesdivision) and displayed at the Go Fish Education Center in Perry from May 1-May 16. The Go Fish Education Center offers an educational journey through Georgia’s watersheds to learn about the state’s diverse aquatic wildlife, their natural habitats and the impacts of water pollution. Visit www.gofisheducationcenter.com for hours, fees and other details.
The goal of the Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest is to generate a greater knowledge and appreciation of Georgia’s diverse and increasingly threatened nongame wildlife and their habitats. Only a deep concern and commitment to these wild places will ensure their existence for future generations.
Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/PosterContest or http://botgarden.uga.edu  for contest rules, entry forms and further information about the 24th annual Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest. DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and TERN have sponsored more than two decades of nongame wildlife exploration, education and art with the annual contest.
The Nongame Conservation Section, part of Georgia DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division, is charged with conserving nongame wildlife, including native plants and natural habitats. The section receives no state general funds, depending instead on fundraisers such as the sale of the eagle and hummingbird license plates and the Give Wildlife A Chance state income tax checkoff.
Learn more at www.georgiawildlife.com/Conservation/Support, or call Nongame Conservation Section offices in Social Circle (770-761-3035), Forsyth (478-994-1438) or Brunswick (912-264-7218).