Skip to content

Sustainable Orillia art contest open to local students

Theme for this year's contest, which runs March 1 until May 31, is Ontario Species Need Your Help
The elementary school winners of the 2022 Sustainable Orillia Student Art Contest are shown.

Following on the success of the 2023 Sustainable Orillia (SO) Student Art Contest, Biodiversity: It’s All Around You, SO is pleased to announce its 2024 contest based on the theme, Ontario Species Need Your Help.

The contest will run from March 1 until May 31, 2024.

Sustainable Orillia is also pleased to announce that three local businesses are sponsoring this year’s contest: Manticore Books, Scott’s Garden Centre (both also last year’s contest sponsors) and a new sponsor this year, Jack & Maddy — A Kids’ Store. Please let them know that you appreciate their support of our local community’s young people — and of Sustainable Orillia.

Here in Ontario, the expansion of cities and towns and the building of roads and highways, shopping malls and factories reduces the province’s natural areas to asphalt and concrete in many areas. One result is that various living creatures in those areas are pushed out or eliminated.

The provincial government lists all of the species of life in Ontario that are ‘endangered’ on its Ontario Species at Risk website. There are nine categories of species listed: amphibians (frogs, toads and salamanders), birds, fishes, insects, lichens and mosses, mammals, molluscs (snails and mussels), plants, and reptiles (snakes, lizards and turtles).

The list identifies 180 species that are at risk, though environmentalists suggest that the list of endangered species in Ontario is steadily growing.

Like the 2023 contest, the 2024 SO contest asks student participants to stop and think about the forms of life that surround us — many of which we’re hardly aware of in our daily lives — with a special focus this year on the species that are at risk or in danger of disappearing forever from existence in this province. For those species that exist only in Ontario, disappearance will mean that they are species that are gone forever from the Earth.

Sustainable Orillia’s 2024 Student Art Contest therefore invites students in our local elementary and secondary schools to take a look at what threatens these species and what we can do to reduce the harm we’re doing to them — or, at the very least, know what we’re doing to them. The three-month period of the contest is intended to allow teachers to fit the contest into their curriculum at a time that works best for their classes.

It is SO’s hope that the contest will inspire students and teachers to explore this issue, and, after doing so, that students will decide on a particular species (one is enough, but they might want to include more) that they’d like to celebrate in a drawing, painting or a mixed-media piece, accompanied by a short explanation of why they chose that particular species.

The contest is open to all students, elementary and secondary, in the Orillia area. Contest packages will be delivered to those schools by Friday, March 1. Having been reminded that some students in the area are homeschooled, we will also make contest packages available at Manticore Books in downtown Orillia. (Thanks, Manticore.)

The contest ends on Friday, May 31, 2024. Of the entries submitted, several will be selected for inclusion in Sustainable Orillia’s 2025 art calendar. An event in June will see cash prizes awarded to those students whose work is chosen. The artwork will also be on display at Hibernation Arts on Peter Street in September during Sustainable Orillia Month.



Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.