SO Sustainable Orillia Student Art Contest

By Fred Larsen – Special to SUNonline/Orillia

With the success of the 2023 Sustainable Orillia Student Art Contest, Biodiversity: It’s All Around You, SO is pleased to announce its 2024 contest based on the theme, Ontario Species Need Your Help! The contest will run from March 1 until May 31, 2024.

Sustainable Orillia is also pleased to announce that three local businesses are sponsoring this year’s contest: Manticore Books, Scott’s Garden Centre (both also last year’s contest sponsors) and a new sponsor this year, Jack & Maddy, A Kids Store. Please let them know that you appreciate their support of our local community’s young people—and of Sustainable Orillia.

In Ontario, the expansion of cities and towns, road and highway building, shopping malls and factories reduces the province’s natural areas to asphalt and concrete in many areas. One result is that various living creatures in those areas are pushed out or eliminated.

The provincial government lists all of the species in Ontario that are endangered on its Ontario Species at Risk website. There are nine categories of species listed: amphibians (frogs, toads and salamanders), birds, fishes, insects, lichens and mosses, mammals, molluscs (snails and mussels), plants, and reptiles (snakes, lizards and turtles).

The list identifies 180 species that are at risk, though environmentalists suggest the list of endangered species in Ontario is steadily growing.

Like the 2023 contest, the 2024 contest asks student participants to stop and think about the forms of life that surround us (many of which we’re hardly aware of in our daily lives) with a special focus on species that are at risk, or in danger of disappearing forever from existence in this province. For those species that exist only in Ontario, disappearance will mean that they are species that are gone forever from the Earth.

Sustainable Orillia’s 2024 Art Contest therefore invites students in our local elementary and secondary schools to take a look at what threatens these species and what we can do to reduce the harm we’re doing to them – or, at the very least, know what we’re doing to them. The three-month period of the contest is intended to allow teachers to fit the contest into their curriculum at a time that works best for their classes.

It is SO’s hope that the contest will inspire students and teachers to explore this issue, and, after doing so, that students will decide on a particular species (one is enough, but they might want to include more) that they’d like to celebrate in a drawing, painting or a mixed media piece, accompanied by a short explanation of why they chose that particular species.

The contest is open to all students, elementary and secondary, in the Orillia area. Contest packages will be delivered to those schools by Friday, March 1. ome students in the area are home-schooled, so we will also make contest packages available at Manticore Books in downtown Orillia.

The contest ends on Friday, May 31, 2024. Of the entries submitted, several will be selected for inclusion in Sustainable Orillia’s 2025 art calendar. An event in June will see cash prizes awarded to those students whose work is chosen. The artwork will also be on display at Hibernation Arts Studio on Peter Street in September during Sustainable Orillia Month!

(Images Supplied) Main: The Red-headed Woodpecker is on Ontario’s Species at Risk list.


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