DNR Announces T-Shirt Art Winners In Youth Birding Competition

Social Circle, Ga.

Eight budding bird artists have been selected as T-shirt Art Contest winners in Georgia’s 18th annual Youth Birding Competition, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

A barred owl drawing by Aleena Huang, a Duluth eighth grader and SKA Academy of Art and Design student, led the contest’s 153 entries from 61 public, private and home schools statewide. As the
grand-prize winner, the 13-year-old will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and have her artwork featured on T-shirts at the 2024 Youth Birding Competition.

The art contest is part of the annual birding event, in which teams of children and teens try to find as many bird species as possible across Georgia in 24 hours. The fun, free bird-a-thon starts Friday, April 12, and ends Saturday, April 20. Teams of kindergarteners through high schoolers will pick a 24-hour stretch during that span and compete by age group to find the most birds statewide. The competition culminates in an awards ceremony and banquet April 20 at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield. Registration is open until March 31 at georgiawildlife.com/ybc.

The T-shirt art contest entry by Huang also won the Middle School division. Other division winners and runners-up include:

  • Primary (pre-K through second grade): eastern bluebird by Valor Johnson, 7, a home-schooled second grader in Harlem. Runner-up: black-necked stilt by Natalie Luo, 8, second grader at SKA Academy of Art & Design, Duluth.
  • Elementary (third-fifth grade): calliope hummingbird by Mira Ma, 10, fifth grader at SKA Academy of Art & Design, Duluth. Runner-up: blackburnian warbler by Emma Wang, 8, third  grader at SKA Academy of Art & Design, Duluth.
  • Middle School (sixth-eighth grade) runner-up: indigo bunting by Erin Yi, 13, seventh grader at Webb Bridge Middle School, Alpharetta.
  • High School (ninth-12th grade): northern flicker by Abigail Moeller, 17, homeschooled 11th grader, Adairsville. Runner-up: house finch by Blossom Vue, 17, 12th grader at Apalachee High School, Auburn.

The other division winners will each be awarded $60 Amazon gift cards, with runners-up receiving $40 Amazon gift cards.

Art contest coordinator Linda May praised all competitors for their efforts and stressed that the focus is not only about art.

“By observing and researching potential birds to draw or paint, students connect more with nature and discover Georgia’s amazing biodiversity,” said May, outreach coordinator for DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section. “Birds are a great focus for this art contest since they’re beautiful, entertaining to watch and easy to find.”

Georgia is home to more than 400 species of resident and migratory birds, ranging in size from the tiny ruby-throated hummingbird to the iconic bald eagle. To encourage wildlife conservation, both an awareness and appreciation of animals and their habitats are essential. The contest helps form that foundation through art. Research shows that participation in nature art also promotes children’s well-being by developing confidence and supporting creativity.   

The birding competition and T-shirt Art Contest are sponsored by DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section, The Environmental Resources Network (TERN) – friends group of the Wildlife Conservation Section – and others including the Georgia Ornithological Society, Georgia Power and Birds Georgia.

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