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Jarvis student earns honors for fire prevention poster

Photo of boy with poster

Matthew Wood displays his award winning poster.

Jarvis Middle School seventh grader Matthew Wood captured first place in the Central Atlantic Region for his entry in the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest.

“We recently learned that Matthew’s poster had advanced all the way to the national contest. Although he didn’t win at that level, he accomplished something amazing in winning the Central Atlantic Region,” said art teacher Nancie Cooney.

Ironically, the award comes for a poster he drew as a fifth grader in Mrs. Cooney’s art class.

She said she discovered that the contest was a two-year process only after learning about Matthew’s award. She had originally entered his work in the contest in November 2012. Since then, he won locally to advance to the regionals, where he again won. He went on to win New York State; then he earned first in the 13-state Central Atlantic Region.

“We never had a student advance so far in the contest, so I didn’t realize how long everything took,” she said.

The annual poster contest is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service and the National Garden Clubs, Inc. Students in grades 1-5 are invited to create an original 11′ x 17″  poster that promotes Smokey Bear and his fire prevention message “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” or Woodsy Owl and his conservation message “Lend a Hand – Care for the Land”.

The contest draws more than 20,000 entries enter each year.

Mrs. Cooney weaves this particular poster contest into her art curriculum for several reasons: to foster stronger community relationships, to educate students about the severe impact of wildfires on the environment and wildlife, to promote fire prevention and safety and to introduce students to art careers in graphic design.

Students began by studying the contest’s requirements. They then discussed the purposes for making posters, what characteristics make a poster effective and how to use the elements of art and principles of design to plan and render a visually enticing work.