Earth Day Art Reflects Region's Environmental Awareness

More than 100 entries for the first annual Earth Day Art Contest poured in from all over Western New York, from pre-school children to one entrant who listed her age simply as “old”. Sponsored by Present Tense Books & Gifts and Genesee Community College’s Earth Club, the contest winners were announced during an awards ceremony at Eco-Fest, the College’s Earth Day event on April 17, 2008.

This year’s Eco-Fest was a huge success with more than 300 people in attendance, many of whom brought electronic waste, or e-scrap, to be recycled. More than 500 pieces of e-scrap were collected. The College’s central forum was full, with over 35 vendors set up to provide activities and environmental education, and five alternative fuel vehicles were on display in the courtyard near the clock tower.

The first annual Earth Day Art Contest generated part of the evening’s excitement. Prizes were awarded in five categories:

Literary Arts
First Place: Riley Schrader, age 5, of Batavia NY for his book Super Riley Saves the Earth
Second Place: Eliza Vacanti, age 11, of Alexander NY for her poem Recipe for the Earth

Visual Arts
First Place: Janice Spiotta of Batavia NY for her quilted wall hanging
Second Place: Dawn Hough of Elba NY for her presentation of dried flowers and other items using recycled materials

Multimedia Arts
First Place: Julie Miller of Albion NY for her photos and essay, Sheep,The Original Recyclers
Second Place: Courtney Jones, age 18, of Gainesville NY for her pencil drawing that incorporated recycled items

Use of Recycled Materials
First Place: Kaylin Stone, age 11, of Caledonia NY for her collage of flowers made from recycled soda cans
Second Place: Haley Case, age 11, of Batavia NY for her flag made from recycled newspapers and soda cans

Children’s Art
First Place: Vincent Strollo, age 6, of Akron NY for his Recyclesaurus, a dinosaur made from recycled milk cartons
Second Place: Megan Tenney, age 8, of Batavia NY for her Earth Day poster

Fourteen entries were selected for Honorable Mention: Xander Apicella of Holley, Emily Carney of Pavilion, Nicole Crossett of Batavia, GCCA Childcare of Batavia, Roberta Gluck of Holley, Melanie Glucksman of Le Roy, Briana Janes of Batavia, Julie Miller of Albion, Anand Patel of Batavia, Autumn Pombert of Albion, Tanner Richardson of Batavia, Felicia Rynkowski of Alexander, Danielle Tierney of Brockport, and Jonathan Trembley of Albion.

The winners were also recognized at an Artist’s Reception at Present Tense on Saturday, April 19, 2008, which included a visit from environmental author Lee Welles who signed copies of her award-winning Gaia Girls series.

“We were amazed at the creativity displayed in the entries for this contest,” said Donna Rae Sutherland, Associate Director of Marketing Communications at Genesee and the College’s Earth Club Advisor. “It is encouraging to see people of all ages, but especially children, have awareness about the earth and have the ability to express it in such unique and diverse ways.”

More than thirty community organizations and businesses contributed prizes for the contest. Several businesses also contributed raffle prizes for Eco-Fest as well.

Raffle prize winners were:
Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union $50 Savings Bond – Tanner Kolb, age 8, of Batavia NY
Gaia Girls book signed by author Lee Welles – Kennedy Kolb, age 5, of Batavia NY
Adam Miller Toy & Bicycle 21-speed mountain bike – Jonah Blake, age 6, of Batavia NY

The Kolb family was especially lucky at this year’s event by winning not only two raffle prizes, but also Terry Kolb, of Oakfield, NY, won another door prize of energy efficient light bulbs.

For more information, contact Erica Caldwell, owner of Present Tense, at 585-815-7640 or Donna Rae Sutherland, Genesee Community College Earth Club advisor, at 585-343-0055 x6616. 

Environmental Art: Jonathan Trembley of Albion, NY, stands next to his poem, which won an Honorable Mention in the First Annual Earth Day Art Contest sponsored by Present Tense and Genesee Community College. More than 100 entries were received, all with an earth-friendly message. (Photo courtesy of Julie Miller).

Mountain Bike: Jonah Blake, age 6, of Batavia tries out his new mountain bike, which was donated by Adam Miller Toy & Bicycle.