SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting fifth and sixth-grade writers and artists from around Illinois to participate in this year’s Annual Poster, Poetry, and Prose Contest. The contest theme for the 2024 awards is “Where Does Rain Go? How Can We Slow the Flow?” focusing on understanding how rain moves through the landscape, the effects of droughts and floods, and how we can adapt to help protect our water resources.

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Educators are encouraged to introduce students to topics such as watersheds and the water cycle, how the amount of rain (frequency and duration) impacts water pollution and the landscape in droughts and floods, and how we can apply conservation practices (slow the flow) to help protect our water resources. Conservation practices can reduce stormwater runoff (nonpoint source pollution) and flooding impacts on our rivers and lakes and even our city’s sewer systems. Informational resources are available on the Illinois EPA’s Poster, Poetry, and Prose Contest webpage. Students are then asked to create posters or written works for the contests related to the theme’s focus. Teachers may then display the submissions for voting and submit final entries to the Illinois EPA for further judging. Teachers may submit up to eight entries per school to the Illinois EPA by February 1, 2024.

The creation of posters and written works gives students an opportunity to express and share what they have learned. The contest also draws attention to important environmental issues. The students whose works are chosen for the exhibit will receive a certificate and ribbon. The top twelve entries will be given special recognition at an awards ceremony to be held in Springfield in the spring of 2024 and displayed on the Illinois EPA website.

Additional information for educators and students can be found at: https://epa.illinois.gov/topics/education/contest/elementary.html. Other questions can be directed to Kristi Morris, Environmental Education Coordinator for the Illinois EPA, at 217-558-7198, or by email at Kristi.Morris@illinois.gov.

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