Teaching tool for grades 4 through 12 combines art, writing, and conservation
BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — Wildlife Forever has announced that the deadline for entry in its 13th Annual State-Fish Art Contest is March 31. This interdisciplinary conservation education program uses art to spark the imagination of students and foster a sense of discovery of the natural world. The State-Fish Art Project provides valuable lessons about fish and the need for conservation of aquatic resources. The program has two primary components: 1) the comprehensive State-Fish Art Lesson Plan, "Fish ON!," for students in grades 4-12, available free of charge at www.statefishart.com, and 2) the national art contest which serves as an outreach initiative and showcase for youth in the arts.

Through the art contest, students across Kansas and the United States have the opportunity to win local and national recognition and prizes while learning about their state fish and the conservation of aquatic habitats.

To enter, young artists usually create an illustration of their state fish, but artwork of any official state fish is eligible. Kansas entrants usually portray the channel catfish. A written composition on its behavior, habitat, and conservation is also required.

State-Fish Art Contest entries are separated into three school grade categories: 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Winning contestants from every state are honored in each category. All contest winners receive a gift certificate for art supplies, as well as other prizes. Winning designs will also be featured on the official State-Fish Art website, www.statefishart.com.

A talented artist in grades 10-12 will be selected as the national “Best of Show” winner and receive a $2,500 tuition scholarship to attend The Art Institutes International Minnesota (Ai Minnesota). The first-runner up nationally in grades 10-12 will receive a $1,000 tuition scholarship to Ai Minnesota. One “gallery-quality” winning entry will be used as the design for the 2010 Art of Conservation Stamp, and a national "Best of Show" award will be presented to one contestant in each age group.

Winning artwork will be on display at the State Fish Art Expo at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas, June 24-25. Winners who attend the Expo will receive a special rod and reel.

Parents and teachers should visit the State-Fish Art website for complete details and to download a free lesson plan. Entries must be postmarked by March 31. In mid-April, a panel of judges composed of wildlife artists, outdoor writers, fisheries specialists, and national celebrities select one winning artwork for each category from each state. The winning entries will be displayed at the annual Expo and on the contest website.

For more information, write State Fish Art Contest, Wildlife Forever, 2700 Freeway Blvd., #1000, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430, or phone 763-253-0222.