Parker River NWR Youth Art Contest

Parker River National Wildlife Refuse in Newburyport Massachusetts is Seeking Young Artists to Help Beach Birds

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is calling on all youth, grades K to 12, to help spread the word about the importance of beaches to shorebirds by entering the Refuge’s Annual Shorebird Youth Art Contest. While most locals know about the annual beach closure at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge for nesting piping plovers, many visitors do not pay attention to the “Area Closed” signs posted at the boundaries.  By turning youth art into informational signs to educate visitors about shorebirds, the Refuge aims to provide the best experience for beachgoers and shorebirds alike.

Every year, an average of 250,000 visitors use Parker River NWR’s beaches, walking trails, and salt marshes for a variety of outdoor recreational activities, such as fishing, birding, and overall beach-going. Shorebirds, a group of birds that use habitat near water, are frequent visitors of the Refuge, particularly in the summer and fall. While people are enjoying the Refuge’s natural, pristine, and beautiful beaches, shorebirds are seeking a safe and sustainable place to breed, feed, and rest on the Refuge year-round. Shorebirds are easily disturbed by routine beach activities, which may impede on a successful migration.

Artwork must be submitted by April 30th, 2024. Only original pieces will be accepted. Label the back with student’s name, grade, school, and email contact. Students do not have to be enrolled in a school to participate. Please drop off submissions in person, or send by mail, to: Parker River NWR, 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA 01950. Virtual submissions can also be submitted by emailing a scanned copy or photo of the artwork (please make sure the image resolution is at least 300 dpi, and keep a hard copy of the artwork on hand). 

Each submission will be separated into one of the five groups for judging: 

  • Group 1: Kindergarten
  • Group 2: 1st grade – 2nd grade
  • Group 3: 3rd grade – 5th grade
  • Group 4: 6th grade – 8th grade
  • Group 5: 9th grade – 12th grade

One winner from each group will be selected. Winners will be announced at Let's Go Outside on June 15, 2024. All participant art will also be displayed at Let's Go Outside in our Youth Showcase!

For more information on rules, prizes, submission guidelines, participation and information about local coastal shorebirds visit the 2024 Beach Sign Youth Art Contest Guidelines page.

For any questions please contact the refuge via email: heather_mcintosh@fws.gov

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