What began as a kid's homework assignment in 1998 has grown into one of the most effective conservation education programs in the United States.
Wildlife Forever's State Fish Art Program uses art, as part of the Fish On! school curriculum, to teach kids about aquatic resource conservation. Participants produce original art of a state fish in their native habitat and write an essay about the fish, their preferred habitat and life cycles.
Once a year, the thousands of submissions received are judged by a panel of artists, outdoor writers and conservation leaders, with awards given for top entries in grades 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12 in every state. All winners are then invited to attend the State-Fish Art Expo, was held last week at the Texas Freshwater Fishery Center in Athens, Texas. Past events have been held at the Mall of America in Minnesota and future Expos are being explored in states like Arkansas and Georgia.
The program has grown in both stature and size since it's launch in 1999, and the level of art produced by children and young as age 10 is astounding. I'd suggest you visit www.statefishart.com yourself to see the incredible works submitted. I'd also recommend you check out the article by Karen Hollingsworth in the spring 2011 issue of Eddies magazine (online copy available at www.fws.gov/eddies).
If you are a student, teacher or parent of a child interested in art, I'd recommend you contact Wildlife Forever for more information on how to participate in this incredible program. -- Steve