January 19, 2013

Kids encouraged to enter birding competition, art contest

Submitted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

ATLANTA — Georgia’s Youth Birding Competition turns 8 this year, and coordinator Tim Keyes is seeing plenty of evidence the event is making an impact for conservation.

Keyes mentions early participants now studying biology in college and former birding novices who as veterans are mentoring children in bird watching.

“It’s been incredibly rewarding to watch that,” he said.

The rewards for competitors and organizers continue April 13-14, when the 24-hour statewide birdathon for teams varying in ages from kindergarteners to high school seniors returns. The deadline to register is March 31. Complete details are at georgiawildlife.com/youthbirdingcompetition.

The competition and an accompanying T-shirt art contest are sponsored by DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division, The Environmental Resources Network Inc. (TERN) and other partners. A banquet and awards ceremony will be held April 14 at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield.

Teams register by one of four age divisions and compete against other groups their age. Participants can also volunteer to raise money for conservation organizations.

The Youth Birding Competition is free, fun and geared to youth of all skill levels. Those new to birding can take advantage of mentoring opportunities offered through the competition.

Contestants spotted 209 bird species and raised $1,178 for conservation last year.

The 2013 competition starts at 5 p.m. April 13, and ends at 5 p.m. April 14. Groups may use as much or as little of that time to count as many birds as possible throughout Georgia.

Although teams can start birding anywhere in the state, they must turn in their checklists at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center by 5 p.m. April 14. While judges examine and score checklists, participants are treated to a live animal show, followed by an awards banquet packed with prizes.

The Youth Birding Competition also includes a T-shirt art contest with a deadline of March 4. Participation in the birding competition is encouraged but not required to enter the contest.

There is no charge for either contest, aside from the optional cost of overnight lodging at Charlie Elliott.

Event sponsors include Atlanta Audubon Society and the Georgia Ornithological Society.

New this year: Teams can share photos and updates on what birds they’re seeing or hearing on the Wildlife Resources Division’s Twitter account. Simply tweet @GeorgiaWild with the hashtag #YBC2013!

For more information, visit georgiawildlife.com/youthbirdingcompetition or contact Alesia Rast at Charlie Elliott Conference Center, (770) 784-3152 or alesia.rast@dnr.state.ga.us. Tim Keyes, available at (912) 262-3191 or tim.keyes@dnr.state.ga.us, can answer questions about the competition.

For more information on the T-shirt art contest, visit georgiawildlife.com/YBCTshirtArtContest or contact art contest coordinator Linda May at (706) 557-3226 or linda.may@dnr.state.ga.us.

MORE ON THE T-SHIRT ART CONTEST: Hey kids! Do you like birds and love to draw or paint? Georgia’s eighth annual Youth Birding Competition is offering a T-shirt art contest for resident children and teens.

Many famous ornithologists were bird artists when they were young, so perhaps you could be the next John James Audubon, Roger Tory Peterson, or David Allen Sibley!

A winner will be picked from each of these age categories: primary (pre-K-2nd), elementary (3rd-5th), middle school (6th-8th) and high school. One winner will be awarded the grand prize — their artwork will appear on the 2013 YBC T-shirt, and they’ll receive a $100 gift card to Michaels. The three other winners will each receive a $50 Michaels gift card, redeemable for art supplies.

Entering is easy. Participants must draw or paint their favorite Georgia bird on paper or sheet canvas (at least 8-by-10 inches but no larger than 11-by-17 inches). Mail it in a large envelope — flat, not folded — in time to be received by 4 p.m. March 4, 2013, to: GA DNR-WRD, YBC T-shirt Art Contest (Attn: Linda May), 2065 US Hwy. 278 SE, Social Circle, GA 30025.

On a separate piece of paper, gently attached to the back of the artwork, include the participant’s name, school, age, grade level, mailing address, phone number, parent or teacher’s e-mail address, and species name of the bird depicted.

The illustrated bird must be a wild species and native to Georgia. Pictures of exotic or domesticated species (such as European starlings, pigeons, chickens, yellow ducks, peacocks and parrots) will be disqualified. Draw or paint the bird’s features as accurately as possible. A simple background that provides habitat context is good to include, but make sure your bird stand outs well and is the main focus of the artwork. Also keep in mind that deep, contrasting colors scan best for a t-shirt.

Only one entry per person is allowed, and it must be the child’s artwork. Participation in the Youth Birding Competition on April 13-14, 2013, is encouraged but not required to submit artwork for the T-shirt art contest.

Competitors in the birding event can pick up their submissions at the April 14 banquet at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, where select artwork will be displayed and winners announced.

Artwork from children and teens who do not take part in the Youth Birding Competition can either be picked up at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield during normal business hours or returned by mail — but only if a large, self-addressed envelope with four first-class stamps is included with the submission.