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Poster contest’s 28th year highlights Georgia’s wildlife diversity

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. – Teachers and students across the state are invited to honor Georgia’s wildlife and students’ artistic interests by participating in the 28th annual Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest.

Give wildlife a chance poster contest

  • Theme: “Nature at Night”
  • Emphasis: Generate a greater knowledge and appreciation of Georgia’s diverse and increasingly threatened nongame wildlife and their habitats.
  • Teacher instructions: Have students design artwork that includes nongame wildlife and/or native plants. Hold a school-level contest. First-place winners in each age division progress to the state-level contest.
  • Deadline for state-level contest entries: April 13, 2018.
  • Top 12 state-level winners’ artwork will be showcased on Wildlife Resources Division social media sites and displayed at the State Botanical Garden in Athens May 8-16, 2018. 
  • Details:

The goal of the competition, open to grades K-5, is to generate a greater knowledge and appreciation of Georgia’s diverse and increasingly threatened nongame wildlife and their habitats. Nongame species (those not legally hunted or fished for) vary from rare animals and plants such as Barbour’s map turtle and dwarf trillium to common species such as the Carolina chickadee and tulip poplar.

This popular art contest is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and The Environmental Resources Network (TERN), friends group of DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section. The theme for the 2017-18 school year is “Nature at Night.” The topic highlights the various adaptive behaviors of wildlife as well as their interactions with plants.    

Depending on when wild animals are most active, they are considered diurnal, crepuscular or nocturnal. Diurnal wildlife (including the chipmunk, green anole and most songbirds) usually are awake during the day but asleep at night. Crepuscular animals (like the big brown bat, common nighthawk and fireflies) are most active at twilight but may be awake during the night, too. Nocturnal animals (such as the southern flying squirrel and most owls and frogs) typically are active at night but asleep during the day.

Some native plants cater to nocturnal insects to ensure pollination. For example, yucca flowers produce most of their sweet-smelling nectar at night to attract the yucca moth. Sundrops, a type of evening primrose, keep their flowers open at night so hummingbird moths, green lacewings and other pollinators can visit.

After creating artwork based on this year’s theme and within contest rules, participants will enter their drawings and paintings at the local school level. Top school-level entries then proceed to the state contest at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens. First-, second- and third-place winners are chosen there for four divisions: kindergarten, first and second grade, third and fourth grade, and fifth grade. The deadline for schools to submit state-level entries is April 13, 2018.

The top 12 state-level winners’ artwork will be showcased on DNR Wildlife Resources Division social media sites and displayed at the State Botanical Garden in Athens May 8-16. The State Botanical Garden offers a fascinating variety of plants as well as opportunities to view wildlife in the fields and forests. Admission is free, although donations are accepted. For directions, operating hours and a garden map, visit

As a special perk for supporting this contest, each state-level winner’s teacher and one parent will receive a free bald eagle license plate, courtesy of TERN! For contest rules, awards, entry forms and other information, visit   

The Nongame Conservation Section, part of Georgia DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division, is charged with conserving nongame wildlife, including native plants and natural habitats. Only a deep concern and commitment to these natural resources will ensure their existence for future generations. The Nongame Conservation Section depends primarily on fundraisers such as sales and annual renewals of the eagle and hummingbird license plates and the Give Wildlife a Chance state income tax checkoff.

Learn more at or call Nongame Conservation Section offices in Social Circle (770-761-3035), Forsyth (478-994-1438) or Brunswick (912-264-7218).