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April 10, 2013

Students invited to enter artwork in My Green School Art Contest

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Sarah Horst, a third-grader from Lakes Elementary in Hartland, was awarded first place for her artwork in last year’s My Green School Art Contest.

ROCHESTER — Children can put their creativity to the test by sharing what their school is doing to be green as part of the third annual My Green School Art Contest.

The statewide contest was developed by the Green Schools Advocacy Committee in 2011 to teach children in Michigan schools how a green school can positively impact their lives, their community and the environment. Last year, more than 450 Michigan students participated in the contest, and Connie Lilley, who organizes the contest each year, said she expects more students to participate this time around.

“The most encouraging thing is, every year, the kids that enter seem to be younger and younger, so it shows they are learning about green practices and sustainability at school and at home at a younger age,” she said.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s Detroit Regional Chapter of the Green Schools Committee, the Detroit Institute of Arts and local sponsors are asking children in kindergarten through fifth grade to create a picture — on paper or card stock, up to 12-by-18 inches — that shows what makes their school green, or how it could be green.

“It allows kids to tell us their ideas about their school being green, or how it could be greener, through art. So it’s a fun project and educational at the same time,” Lilley said. “The first year, we saw a lot of recycling. Now, students are getting into other things, like water conservation, solar power and school gardens — so the types of entries we’re getting are expanding.”

Nearly any medium can be used — including paint, crayon, pencil, collage, photo, stencil and more — but organizers said children should avoid using glitter, and copyright and trademarked images. For judging purposes, those who enter are also asked not to include the student’s name or use the name of the school in the artwork.

The entries will be judged on concept, creativity and quality by artist Daniel Cascardo; Margaret Matta, chair of the U. S. Green Building Council’s Detroit Regional Chapter Green Schools Committee; and Byron Nemela, studio instructor for the department of learning and interpretation at the DIA.

Nemela, who will serve as a judge for the first time this year, said he is excited to participate.

“The DIA is proud to be a part of an event that combines the promotion of art and green schools,” he said in a statement.

The top 18 entries — three semifinalists from each grade — will be invited to a luncheon sponsored by Ecostore USA for final judging and prizes.

Finalists will be recognized and the winner announced at the MI Earth Day Fest Kickoff & Awards Ceremony, on the event’s main stage, at 7 p.m. April 26 in downtown Rochester. Finalists will also have their artwork displayed at the MI Earth Day Fest in Rochester April 26-28, the Michigan Energy Fair June 7-8 in Ludington and at the Ecostore USA headquarters in Auburn Hills.

“The kids, sometimes, end up educating the adults through this project, which is nice,” Lilley noted.

Students can enter on their own or through their school. Last year’s winners came from many different cities, including Detroit, Dearborn, Huntington Woods, Troy, Rochester, Hartland, Bloomfield Hills and Paw Paw.

Online entries — which may be submitted by emailing a photo of the artwork to MyGreen SchoolArt@usgbcdetroit.org — are due by 5 p.m. Earth Day, April 22. Mailed entries must be postmarked by April 20 and sent to My Green School Art Contest-USGBC-DRC, 26913 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 200, Southfield, MI 48033. All artwork submissions must be accompanied by an application, which can be found at www.miEDF.org.

This year’s local sponsors are Pure Eco Environmental Solutions, Energy Finance Analytics LLC, PM Environmental Inc., Ecostore USA and Ecology Center.

For more information, contact Connie Lilley at lilley@pmenv.com or (248) 336-9988.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.