Since 1944, millions across the United States of America have become familiar with the lovable Smokey Bear and his encouraging words, “Only YOU can prevent wildfires.”
This year, the local New Castle Garden Club participated in the nationwide contest where they joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the National Garden Clubs, Inc. to give students an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of wildlife prevention through original drawings of Smokey Bear.
The 2019 Smokey Bear Poster Contest, celebrating 75 years of Wildfire Prevention, opened the contest to children between the first and fifth grade.
Smokey Bear is recognized both nationally and internationally as the symbol for wildlife prevention. His message, “Only you can prevent Wildfires,” encourages personal responsibility for wildfire prevention. Smokey Bear has always taught children and adults alike to be careful with campfires, BBQ’s, trash fires and matches.
Hopes were to obtain the drawings from students before Christmas Break, however, when they came back from break, more school days were cancelled due to the weather. Their teacher, Sierra Frazier, assisted them in their artwork.
“They were wonderful students, and so passionate about art,” Frazier said. “I often pull them to help me out with projects because they’re so creative and just super sweet kids.”
“Due to the number of school days missed, we only received two entries, McKenna All and Raelynn Stamper,” Darlene Charlton, Vice President of the New Castle Garden Club, said. “We were hoping to have more participants but are very happy that we had two.”
The National Grand Prize winner of the contest will be honored with a recognition ceremony in Washington, DC. where round trip airfare and accommodation for four will be provided.
The Garden Clubs, Inc. will also award a $50 check to each first-place winner in all five grades. Many expect Smokey Bear to be present at the award ceremony.
Charlton added that she has connected with the School’s Principal, Gerri VanDyke, to coincide with a Smokey Bear Program they currently have in the fall.
All and Stamper wore big grins as they held their Smokey Bear drawings and certificates. The Certificate of Participation read: “Thank you for your participation in the National Garden Club Inc. Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest.”
Charlton also presented them with their own personal pair of garden gloves and pizza for lunch.