LOUISVILLE – As another new school year gets underway, the search for Kentucky's finest young writers and artists also begins. Students in grades 1-12 are encouraged to create and submit short essays and artistic entries for the annual Conservation Writing and Art Contests, sponsored by Kentucky Farm Bureau and the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts.
This year's competition, featuring the 70th annual Writing Contest for grades 6-12 and the 40th annual Jim Claypool Conservation Art Contest for grades 1-5, focuses on soil conservation. While creativity is a key component to the contests, students will primarily be challenged to think about the environment around them and efforts they can take to help preserve it. Participants are tasked to share their ideas through short essays and artwork, persuading their readers and viewers to take action toward soil conservation efforts.
A better understanding of the benefits that soil conservation brings to Kentucky's landscape is something that can be enjoyed for generations to come, but this competition also rewards its participants for the time and effort required to create their entries. County-level winners receive a $25 check, regional winners get $50 and the overall state winners collect $250 for first place, $150 for second place and $50 for third place.
In last year's competition (focusing on water conservation), students from 94 counties submitted a total of 17,004 writing entries while creating an additional 49,076 art entries from 99 counties.
Contest resource materials – including a teacher's guide and official entry form – are available at kyfb.com/federation or conservation.ky.gov. Completed entries for the 2014 competition must be received at the student's local conservation district office by Dec. 1.
The annual Conservation Writing and Jim Claypool Art Contests are produced through the cooperative efforts of the Kentucky Division of Conservation, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts, Division of Water, Energy and Environment Cabinet, Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Division of Forestry, Department of Education, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.