Teachers and students across the state are invited to explore Georgia’s wildlife and students’ artistic interests through the 30th annual Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest.
The goal of this competition for grades K-five is to generate a greater knowledge and appreciation of Georgia’s diverse wildlife and their habitats. The initiative is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and The Environmental Resources Network, or TERN, friends group of DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section.
To celebrate three decades of the poster contest, the 2019-2020 theme – Georgia Bogs: Unique Wetlands for Rare Species – highlights a very special habitat.
"Once thought of as muddy wastelands, bogs are now considered extraordinary ecosystems full of life," officials said. "While serving as habitat for common wildlife, bogs also provide the soft, spongy peat soil that many unique and rare species require.
Pitcherplants, sundews and bladderworts thrive there. These carnivorous plants attract, trap and digest insects and small animals for nourishment. Southern Appalachian mountain bogs are home to the state-endangered bog turtle, too.
"Bogs habitats used to cover much of north Georgia and the Coastal Plain. Yet these fragile, open wetlands have either shrunk or disappeared in the last century. Many have been drained to create roads, farms and reservoirs. That means the plants and animals that live there are harder to find, too.
"With increased awareness about the fascinating species found in bogs, hopefully this destructive trend can be reversed – limiting damage from new development and supporting the restoration of drained and overgrown bogs."
After creating artwork based on this year’s theme and within contest rules, participants will enter their drawings and paintings at the local school level. Top school-level entries then proceed to the state contest at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens. First-, second- and third-place winners will be chosen for four divisions: kindergarten, first and second grade, third and fourth grade and fifth grade. The deadline for schools to submit state-level entries is April 10, 2020.
The top 12 state-level winners’ artwork will be showcased on DNR Wildlife Resources Division social media sites and displayed at the State Botanical Garden in Athens May 6-13. The State Botanical Garden offers a fascinating variety of plants as well as opportunities to view wildlife. Admission is free, although donations are accepted.
As a special perk for supporting this contest, each state-level winner’s teacher and one parent will be eligible to receive a free DNR wildlife license plate, courtesy of TERN. For contest rules, awards, entry forms and other information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/PosterContest.