Three Stilson Elementary School third-graders received top honors in the 2014 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest. Chazz Shuman and Jayce Frutos each received first-place ribbons, and Laci White placed third in the kindergarten–third grade category.
In their division, the three are part of a group of only 25 top-three winners statewide. Overall, there were a total of 100 statewide winners in the event’s four age categories: kindergarten–third grade, fourth–sixth grade, seventh–ninth grade and 10th–12th grade.
Shuman’s and Frutos’ first-place wins qualified them also to be judged for the Georgia Best of Show category, in which the judges selected Bethany Panhorst, 17, of Savannah Arts Academy as winner. Panhorst will advance to the national-level competition in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
Organized annually by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and sponsored by Georgia Power Company, this year’s art contest had 588 entries from 20 different public, private and home schools as well as art studios. Five volunteer experts, who are knowledgeable about both art and waterfowl, judged entries from the four age divisions.
Judges selected a total of 25 winners in each age group, with three first-place awards, three second-place awards, three third-place awards and 16 honorable mention winners. SES students Abigail Morgan, Carlie Berman, Madison Yates and Elisabeth Evans were four of the 16 participants in the kindergarten–third grade category who received honorable mentions for their artwork.
This year’s judges were Greg Balkcom, an expert waterfowl biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Jim Candler, an environmental affairs supervisor at Georgia Power Company; Mike Piccirilli, chief of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration for the USFWS’s southeast region; and Debbie Harris, a USFWS biologist.
SES art teacher Nancy Miller used the contest with her students to provide them an avenue to apply some of the art principals they learned in class and connect art to the science of conservation. The USFWS provided schools with integrated science and art curriculum to help teachers convey to students how to research native North American waterfowl species and their wetland habitats, thus offering visuals for their art as well.