Art Contest 2017

illustration, National Fossil Day stamp with postmark

About the Contest

The National Park Service and National Fossil Day partners are sponsoring an art contest to celebrate the 8th annual National Fossil Day. National Fossil Days is scheduled for Wednesday, October 11, 2017, during Earth Science Week. The theme for this contest is: “The Future of Fossils: People Studying and Caring for Our Fossil Heritage".

Please see below for contest guidelines.

Click here to download the art contest entry form.

Contest Guidelines

Who can enter?
The contest is open to any interested person, of all ages. Entries will be judged based on originality, creativity and how well the submission addresses this year’s contest theme. You must be a resident of the United States to enter.

What should my artwork include?
Your artwork should focus on the art contest theme “The Future of Fossils: People Studying and Caring for Our Fossil Heritage".

Fossils - evidence of past life preserved in rock or sediment - tell us stories about ancient animals and plants. Congress has passed laws to protect fossils in our national parks and to promote opportunities for scientific research and public education. It is vital to leave fossils where they are found, no matter where in the world you are. If you find a fossil contact someone in the area who specializes in paleontology or geology and they will be able to help you.

Artwork should focus on how people care for and learn from fossils. The artwork can be in the form of a photograph (black & white or color), a painting, a drawing, or a sketch. All artwork must be 2D and flat.

Questions to help you get started...
What is your favorite fossil? How are fossils used in science? Where can you find fossils? How are fossils preserved? What is your favorite fossil site? How are fossils made? What are fossil fuels and why are they so important?

How large should the artwork be?
All artwork should be able to fit inside a 13"x 17" envelope or smaller.

What do I need to submit?
A valid submission will contain the following information:

1. An original copy of the artwork. Each piece must be original, authentic, unpublished, the sole property of the entrant, and not previously submitted in any other contest. Make sure to include a sentence or two on your submission form discribing your artwork.

2. Your personal information, printed on either the back of your artwork or on a separate sheet attached to your artwork:
First and last name:
Mailing address:
Phone number:
E-mail address:

3. A completed and signed entry form. Print out the entry form here and send it to us when you send your artwork. Entries cannot be accepted without a signed entry form.

How should I submit my artwork and entry form?
Artwork must be sent by mail, along with your contact information.

Important: You must have a signed and completed entry form (if under 18, a parent or guardian must sign) to enter.

Entry forms may be submitted by mail along with your artwork. All mailed entry forms must be sent to:
National Fossil Day 2017 Art Contest
American Geological Institute
4220 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22302-1502
If you have any problems or questions regarding the art contest, please contact the National Fossil Day staff at

When is the deadline?
All submissions must be received by mail by 5 p.m. EST, Thursday, October 5th, 2017.

How will the artwork be judged?
The artwork will be judged by a panel on originality, creativity, quality and, most importantly, relevance to the topic. Four top entries in each age group will be selected including 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place and Honorable Mention. The age groups are:
  • 8 years old and under
  • 9 to 13 years of age
  • 14 to 18 years of age
  • 18 and older
The winner's artwork will appear on the National Fossil Day Art Contest Winners Gallery starting on October 11th, 2017. Check the National Fossil Day website to see if your artwork has been selected!

Disclaimer: By submitting an entry, an entrant agrees to allow the National Park Service to use his or her name to post on the NPS's National Fossil Day Web site, without compensation unless prohibited. All entries and all rights of ownership in and to the entries, including all rights to use, reproduce, publish, modify, edit, and distribute the same will become the exclusive property of NPS and will not be returned. NPS reserves the right to edit, modify, copyright, publish, use, and reproduce any and all entries without further compensation. The National Park Service, its agents and contractor, are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, incomplete, or postage-due entries. Contest void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Last updated: May 12, 2017