Student artwork reveals biodiversity in Orillia area

Nineteen area students, family members and friends—over sixty people in all—gathered at Creative Nomad Studios last Friday afternoon to receive cash awards for their submissions to Sustainable Orillia’s 2023 Art Contest, Biodiversity—It’s all around us! Their artwork was showcased during the evening and drew admiring comments from all who viewed them.

Sixteen of the students, both elementary and secondary, received $50 each for their artwork. Their pieces will be used in the 2024 Sustainable Orillia 2024 “Biodiversity” Calendar—expected to go on sale in early August.

An additional three high school students—all from Orillia Secondary School—were awarded first, second and third prizes.

First prize ($300) went to Katelyn Wilson’s painting entitled “A Walk with Gordon.” She notes: “The Lightfoot Trail is a green space that showcases the beauty of our local ecosystem. It contains living species of both plant and animal—from the simple moss and fungus on the trees to the delicate trilliums on the ground to the majestic deer. How amazing that we have access to mother nature’s beauty right in our own backyards!”

Second prize ($200) went to Parker Turgeon’s “Jerry the blue heron.” Parker’s comment revealed a personal connection to life around her. “When I first moved to Orillia, leaving friends behind, I was drawn toward the lake. I spent lots of time sitting by the shore of Lake Simcoe or on our docks. I made a dear friend there, Jerry—a blue heron who lives near our dock. He’d visit each day, perched up in the trees or on a boat. Friendships are unexpected—and, no matter the canvas, vibrant and beautiful.”

Third prize ($100) was awarded to Tristan Sanabria for his mosaic blending scenes of Orillia with a variety of life forms. Tristan explained in an accompanying comment, “The triangular split images are used to suggest abstractly that different forms of life work together like a system. The hand holding the planet symbolizes that we have to take care of our planet and the life on it.”

The works of these three students, along with those of the other sixteen, will soon become the illustrations in Sustainable Orillia’s 2024 calendar. It is expected that the calendar will be ready to be available for purchase by the August 5-6 All-Electric Vehicle Weekend at ODAS park. Following that introduction, the calendar will be available at Home Hardware in Orillia throughout the Fall—or as long as supplies last.

Sustainable Orillia thanks these students for their participation in the 2023 contest—and the members of their families who turned out to show their support for the efforts of the young people. We’d also like to thank the other 170 students who entered work into the contest—and encourage them to once again enter our 2024 contest. A big THANK YOU! as well to the teachers who encouraged and enabled their students to take a look at the biodiversity that exists in our area—leading to the artwork that was submitted.

Finally, a big thank-you, as well, to Scott’s Garden Centre and Manticore Books for their sponsorship of this year’s contest. Your support of the community’s young people—and Sustainable Orillia—is very, very much appreciated.

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