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Contact: Jodi French-Burr, 304-574-2115
Glen Jean, West Virginia, January 2, 2014—Has nature ever inspired you to do something creative? Local students can celebrate their creativity through theYouth Arts in the Parksprogram. 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.
This 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 www.nps.gov/neri/youth-arts-
"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 Parksis 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."
Join this celebration of ecology through art withYouth Arts in the Parks!
For more information about New River Gorge National River and upcoming ranger activities, visit http://www.nps.gov/neri, check out the park Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/