The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

January 22, 2014

Youth Arts in the Parks art contest announced

GLEN JEAN — Has nature ever inspired you to do something creative? Local students can celebrate their creativity through the Youth Arts in the Parks program.

This youth art contest and April art exhibition at Tamarack allows students to serve as community leaders and raise awareness of Appalachia’s natural diversity and parks. Their works will inspire community connections to local ecology, as well as outdoor stewardship.

Student participants in this art program will also have the opportunity to explore the business of art and its role in economic development.

The wildflower art contest is open to all K – 12 grade students in Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, and Summers counties. Students may use a variety of mediums to create a work of art inspired by a spring Appalachian wildflower native to the New River Gorge area of West Virginia.

Contest information, rules, list of accepted wildflower species, and entry form are available online at or

Contest art entries must be hand delivered to a contest receiving station between Feb. 8 and Feb. 16; see contest rules for specific receiving site locations. Top entries will be showcased at Tamarack in Beckley in April and online.

“This project helped me realize how beautiful and unique our natural surroundings are. This helped [my school] realize that we need to respect and appreciate the parks because they protect our natural surroundings and beautiful wonders,” said Tesa D., an Independence Middle School student who participated in this program in 2011.

“I like to hike too, and it would be great to see these flowers in the wild,” said Lily Burr, a Fayette county student who has participated in this contest for several years.

Independence Middle School art teacher Carolyn Buzbee added, “This project bridges valleys between schools, parks, and the community through art, wildflowers, and education.”

Youth Arts in the Parks is part of New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend, a special event that celebrates the area’s amazing ecology.

A partnership of New River Gorge National River, Babcock State Park, Hawks Nest State Park, Little Beaver State Park, Pipestem Resort State Park, and Tamarack host this annual public event each spring. Parks like these are places that “bring relevance to all citizens,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. “That’s where learning really begins.”

For more information about New River Gorge National River and upcoming ranger activities, visit, check out the park Facebook page at, follow us on Twitter at, or stop by any park visitor center.