Orchard School third graders display their artwork featuring Smokey Bear as part of a poster contest promoting fire safety and conservation. Front row L-R: Maya, Evelyn, Catherine, and Leo. Back row L-R: Orchard teacher Amy Verrill and Miles.

Lend a Hand for the Land: Orchard Students Compete in National Poster Contest

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Thursday March 15, 2018

Twenty-two Orchard School third grade students learned about fire prevention and how to “lend a hand for the land” by participating in the 2018 U.S. Forestry Smokey Bear Woodsy Owl National Poster Contest. Hosted by the Burlington Garden Club (BGC), in partnership with the National Garden Club, the contest features student illustrations of Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl along with the students’ understanding of wildfire prevention and environmental conservation.

This year, Orchard teacher Amy Verrill and her third grade class worked with BCG member Nini Crane and Orchard art teacher Suzy Ely to create the posters. The students began the project by learning about recycling, reusing, not littering, and using resources wisely. According to the BCG, all of the posters were outstanding. Special congratulations went to the winners of the Vermont State contest, Evelyn Lorentz for first place, Catherine Linnell for second place, and third place winner, Miles Van Mullen.

Lorentz says, “The environment was fine before humans created trash and started landfills. We want to get back as close to a better environment as we can. It’s important to learn about the environment and how it’s being destroyed because you can try to reduce the waste you produce. Use reusable bags instead of plastic bags.”

“We need to work together to get the environment back to the way it used to be. We need to save the animals, we need oxygen to breath, and trash is causing pollution. It’s important for kids to learn about trash destroying the earth so they can start helping now,” said Linnell. Van Mullen adds, “If kids learn about helping the environment now, it won’t be too late when they grow up. When I see trash all around, it makes me sad that we destroy animal’s homes.”

New England Region Garden Club (NERGC) Youth Activities Chair Bonni L. Dinneen says children from first through the fifth grade annually are invited to participate in the national poster contest. This is the fifth year Orchard School has participated. The NERGC regional chair congratulated the students for their work and presented certificates to Lorentz, Linnell, and Van Mullen, as well as to Leo Meyer and Maya Shafer whose posters also made it to the regionals.

BGC member Doris Van Mullen said, “This was a notable opportunity for the students to illustrate their appreciation for the need to protect our natural environment.”