The 2021 Youth Conservation Poster Contest, open to all Lexington County K-12 students, invites students to combine artistic skills with scientific knowledge to illustrate the theme "Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities." Students may design their posters/images digitally or on paper, but all entries should be submitted electronically (photographs or scanned images of paper illustrations may be submitted as .jpg, .png, or .pdf files). Entries are due by April 16, 2021.
Background: Trees and forests are critical to providing clean air and water, healthy soil, abundant wildlife habitat and valuable products we use every day. They also promote mental, physical, and emotional health and have a huge positive impact on local economies! Healthy forests—those which support a variety of plants and animals and provide the things humans and other animals need to survive—promote healthy communities in several ways.
Environmental Health: Healthy forests promote healthy communities by creating healthier environments. Trees reduce storm water runoff, increase the soil’s ability to absorb and store water, and prevent soil erosion—all of which lead to cleaner, healthier waterways and reduce flooding that can impact communities. Trees can also absorb and break down certain pollutants, and their shading and cooling effects make cities more livable and help reduce cooling costs and energy consumption. Through photosynthesis, which converts carbon dioxide and water into tree trunks, roots, and leaves, trees can help capture and store atmospheric greenhouse gases and mitigate the risks associated with climate change.
Mental, Physical, and Emotional Health: Healthy forests also promote mental, physical, and emotional health. Studies indicate that spending time in forests reduces stress, improves mood, boosts concentration, and can strengthen the immune system. Attractive “green” environments (such as forests) enhance the motivation for physical exercise; exercise, in turn, reduces our risk for numerous illnesses. These “green” areas also promote community identity, social activity, and social participation.
Economic Health: Approximately 63% of South Carolina is forested. Forestry and forest product industries provide more than 98,000 jobs and have a $21.2 billion impact on our state’s economy. Forests also provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism, and these economic sectors also make significant contributions to local economies. Healthy forests create jobs and economic opportunity; jobs and economic opportunity, in turn, promote community health!
The Challenge: Keeping forests healthy by replanting when trees are removed, inspecting trees regularly for signs of infection or infestation, identifying and removing non-native and invasive species, and preventing pollution of the air, soil, and water are all ways to promote forest—and community—health. Please join us in celebrating the connections between #HealthyForests and #HealthyCommunities by submitting your illustration by April 16, 2021!
Posters will be evaluated by a panel of judges according to the following criteria:
Have a parent or guardian upload a scanned or photographed version of your entry (.pdf., .jpg, or .png formats) using this online submission form by April 16, 2021. Please retain your original poster entry in a safe location until June 15, 2021, as we may request hard copies of select entries.
Competition Progression and Awards
Richland County winners will progress to the state competition; state winners will progress to the national competition. Cash prizes will be awarded at each level.
• The Lexington Soil and Water Conservation District will only accept poster/image sizes are between 8.5"x11" and 14"x22". All entries will be digital.
• Entry must be contestant's original creation and may not be traced from photographs or other artists' published works.
• Any media may be used to create a flat poster (ex. paint, crayons, stickers, etc.)
• Although younger students may receive help in planning from parents or teachers, the Lexington Soil & Water Conservation District encourage students to complete as much of the work as possible by themselves.
• The Lexington Soil and Water Conservation District will judge each entry before sending winners to the SC Association of Conservation Districts for judging and state winners will be sent in for the national contest. Individuals cannot send posters to national.
Lexington County students should submit their posters to the Lexington Soil and Water Conservation District, 123 Park Road, Lexington, for local judging by the close of business (4:30 p.m.) on April 15, 2020.
ENTRY FORM - Must be sent with digital poster.