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Georgia’s 15th annual Youth Birding Competition invites resident children and teens to celebrate birds through a T-shirt art contest.

SOCIAL CIRCLE – Georgia’s 15th annual Youth Birding Competition invites resident children and teens to celebrate birds through a T-shirt art contest.

Many famous ornithologists were bird artists when they were young, so perhaps a Georgia youngster 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 (third-fifth), middle school (sixth-eighth) and high school. One winner will be awarded the grand prize – their artwork will appear on the 2020 Youth Birding Competition T-shirt and they’ll receive a $100 Amazon gift card. The three other winners will each receive a $50 Amazon gift card, redeemable for art supplies.

To encourage artists to also participate in the 2020 Youth Birding Competition on April 24-25, another award will recognize the best artwork from a member of a team involved in the competition (if a participant doesn’t already place in the regular art contest).

Entering is easy. Participants must draw or paint a native Georgia bird that has not been previously featured on a Youth Birding Competition T-shirt (more details at www.georgiawildlife.com/YBCTshirtArtContest). Artwork may be created on paper or sheet canvas, at least 8-by-10 inches but no larger than 11-by-17 inches. Mail or deliver the artwork in a large envelope – flat, not folded – by March 6, 2020 (postmarked), to: GA DNR-WRD, YBC T-shirt Art Contest (Attn: Linda May), 2600 Highway 155, SW, Stockbridge, Ga. 30281.

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

The illustrated bird must be a wild species that is native to Georgia. Artwork of exotic or domesticated species (such as European starlings, pigeons, 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 artists should make sure their bird stands out well and is the 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 original artwork. Participation in the Youth Birding Competition on April 24-25 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 25 banquet at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield (www.georgiawildlife.com/CharlieElliott), which is where select artwork will be displayed and the 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 through May 16 during business hours or returned by mail (but only if a large, self-addressed envelope with at least six first-class stamps is included with the submission).

The 2020 Youth Birding Competition starts at 5 p.m. April 24, and ends at 5 p.m. April 25. Groups may use as much or as little of that time to count as many birds as possible throughout Georgia. Although teams may start birding anywhere in the state, they must turn in their checklists at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center by 5 p.m. that Saturday.

While judges examine and score checklists, participants will enjoy a live animal show followed by an awards banquet packed with prizes.

For more information on the T-shirt Art Contest, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/YBCTshirtArtContest. Art contest coordinator Linda May may be contacted at (706) 319-0211 or linda.may@dnr.ga.gov.

Details on the 2020 Youth Birding Competition, including registering a team online for the event (March 31 deadline), will be posted soon at www.georgiawildlife.com/YBC. You can also contact competition coordinator Tim Keyes at (912) 262-3191 or tim.keyes@dnr.ga.gov.

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