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By Jana Hill
Mill Creek Beacon Editor 

Get a pen and go outside

Youth in the K-12 range can enter nature-art contest


Last updated 2/11/2021 at 10:44am

Photo courtesy of Snohomish Conservation District

Students at Lively Environmental Center in 2018 created art from outdoor inspiration. This year, outdoor art is also requested again, and the deadline for submissions is extended to Feb. 24.

A youth art contest for school-aged students is open bit longer for submissions of nature-inspired artwork and journaling.

"We have elected to extend the contest deadline to Wednesday, Feb. 24. People's concept of time is so strange right now," said Kari Quaas, community engagement project manager for the Snohomish Conservation District.

The original deadline was Feb. 10.

The contest is open to all students in Snohomish County and Camano Island, including those in Mill Creek where the agency has had an interlocal agreement in the past, to partner for youth education.

This year's contest with the get-outside-and-create concept is a bit of a replacement for what the agency can usually offer: field trips and hands-on learning, in groups. In a 2018 field trip, students conducted chemical and biological water-quality testing at Lively Center, in the Seattle Hill area. The outdoor classroom is under the umbrella of the Everett Public Schools. On that trip, students got their hands on scientific equipment and a chance to traverse forested trails while studying creatures, soil, and water.

Quaas said the conservation district is in the process of getting a defunct interlocal agreement with Mill Creek back into operation. The group is currently working with city officials, and is waiting. The agreement will re-establish a partnership for youth education that circles around the outdoors and hands-on learning.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no field trips to Lively Center or elsewhere are in-the-works now, but the nature journaling contest is a temporary fix. Students can commune with nature right where they are.

"I have a front yard so I went into my yard" to experience nature, Quaas said. "You can be on the balcony of an apartment building and say 'look, I have a tomato plant.'"

Kids can observe bugs, birds, plants: all the natively occurring flora and fauna around them, then create a journaled experience that is written, visual or both. Limitations on the contest allow for expansive thought, but just 8.5 by 11 presentation, preferably delivered in digital format.

The website to enter has applications in two categories: parents can enter a child's art, or a teacher can enter for a full group.

Nature Journaling entries will be displayed at the 36th Annual Plant Sale, on the conservation district's online gallery, and in the newsletter.

The activity: parents or caregivers can take an art break with a child, and view plants and nature, then draw or apply a leaf to a page or write about the outdoors.

Quaas said the entries they have received so far have been uplifting.

"Each age group presents a completely different vision," she said.

More information here:

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