Every September Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge hosts the ever-wonderful Nisqually Watershed Festival. The festival is put on by the Nisqually River Foundation and its partners, including the Nisqually Indian Tribe, Nisqually Reach Nature Center, and Tacoma Public Utilities. Included among the booths and various activities is the annual Nisqually Watershed Poster Contest. Students in grades 1st – 6th create posters based on a yearly theme that are displayed during the festival in the Visitor’s Center. A winning poster is selected from every grade and displayed on their very own board! Winners also attend an awards ceremony where their name is announced and they receive a prize on stage. It’s a wonderful chance for students to connect with the watershed and show their creativity at the same time!
This year, to help kick start their inspiration, we put together a video for the students. Aleks (that’s me!) from the Nisqually River Education Project, and Danika from the refuge worked together to create an informative video that was both educational and fun. Taking inspiration from the great Bill Nye, Danika and I aimed for a skit style video that spoke directly to students in a goofy way. The idea was to help students who struggled with either inspiration, or with their artistic ability. We love to see all different styles of art and various artistic interpretations that students create themselves. The last thing we want is for a student to feel they couldn’t possibly create a poster because they feel they aren’t an “artist”.
Our video covers several aspects of creating a poster. We start with how to pick a subject within the watershed and ask different questions to get students thinking, as well as resource suggestions for researching more about their subject. We cover different art supplies that students could use, because there’s more out there than just pencil and paper! But we know we can’t just tell students these things, we have to show them as well! Danika, our special guest artist Jenny, and myself created posters showcasing the different art supplies available as well as displaying how each person has their own unique style of art.
It was a lot of fun to make and edit, and we are excited for students to have a new resource available to them for their poster drawing experience!
Here is the link to our web page with more information about the poster contest: http://nrep.nisquallyriver.org/other-teacher-resources/nisqually-watershed-festival/
Poster contest entry deadline has been extended to Friday, June 3rd.
And of course, the video!!