Area students respond to Sustainable Orillia’s focus on “Biodiversity”

One hundred and eighty-nine entries from ten different area schools! Area students have responded strongly to the challenge thrown down by Sustainable Orillia with its third annual art contest—Biodiversity: It’s all around us.

The contest asked students to explore their local surroundings—the backyards, the forests, the grasslands and the lakes and streams around us all in the Orillia area. Students were invited to look for the variety of local species, “from moose to minnows to micro-organisms,” and then to choose one (or more) to display in a piece of art for the contest.

As of June 1 the school entries in our 2023 contest have been collected. We have received entries from each of the three high schools—though OSS takes the prize for their large number of entries—and from seven local elementary schools representing both school boards. This is a significant increase over the participation in last year’s contest, a trend we hope will continue into next year when Sustainable Orillia’s Arts and Culture sector will again be preparing a student art contest for area elementary and high school students.

The next step? We will be bringing together a panel to review the works submitted in an effort to choose twelve of the submissions for use in Sustainable Orillia’s 2024 “Biodiversity” calendar. We will announce these winners of the contest around the middle of June, after which the artwork will be returned to the schools. The twelve students who have created the pieces chosen for the 2024 calendar will be presented with cash prizes at a special ceremony (date, time and place to be announced later).

A special shoutout to the many teachers who encouraged students in their classes to enter the contest. Sustainable Orillia made an effort to come up with a topic for the contest that would fit into the school curricula, for both elementary and secondary schools. From some of the feedback received, we were successful with this “Biodiversity” theme. It is clear, however, that teacher promotion of the contest—and encouragement of their students—is a crucial element in the success of our contest, so a big “Thank you” to all of the teachers that did so in their classes.

But also . . . a special thanks to the almost 200 Orillia-area students who turned their thoughts to the various forms of life that surround us—and are even underfoot—as we go about our daily lives here in Orillia and surroundings. Your support of our contest—and concern for the species you chose to represent—is truly wonderful. Thank you all.

Results of our contest—and the pieces chosen for our 2024 calendar—will be announced soon.

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