Guide Annual Arbor Day Poster Contest

You are invited to join other fifth-grade teachers and students across Massachusetts in the annual Arbor Day Poster Contest sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Massachusetts Tree Wardens’ and Foresters’ Association. Each year there is a new theme designed to increase students’ understanding of the importance of a diverse urban and community forest and of the role trees play in their community and in the world around them.

Why a poster contest?

2017 Arbor Day Poster Contest Winner
2017 Arbor Day Poster Contest Winner - Sophia K. - Elm Street School, Walpole

Trees are the dominant feature of all forest communities and can be found everywhere in our daily lives. They exist in parks, schoolyards, backyards, and along our roads. Whether we are in a city or small community, the urban and community forest is so ubiquitous that we often don’t stop to think that we are actually part of a forest community and have a complex relationship with its ecosystem. Increasing students’ understanding of their relationship with the urban forest and the trees around them is an important step toward appreciation of trees and of the environmental benefits they provide our communities.

2018 Theme - My Community, My Trees

Due to multiple school cancellations, the Arbor Day Poster contest deadline has been extended to March 23, 2018.

Each year, over 1,500 Massachusetts fifth graders participate in the Arbor Day Poster Contest. Each school holds its own poster contest and submits their winning poster to the DCR. Prizes include art supplies, ice cream, and a tree for the winner’s school.

2016 Arbor Day Poster Contest Winner
2016 Arbor Day Poster Contest Winner - Lillian M., Petersham Center School

Every year there is a theme to encourage students to think about trees in new ways, such as

  • “Trees are Terrific…from Berkshires to Bay! (2017)
  • “Trees Grow with Us and for Us” (2016)
  • “Trees are Champions in My Community” (2015)

The theme for 2018 is “My Community, My Trees.”

The deadline for the 2018 contest is extended to March 23, 2018.

Additional Resources

Contest Process

Due to multiple school cancellations, the Arbor Day Poster contest deadline has been extended to March 23, 2018.
  1. Create a Poster
    Ask each student to create a poster around the theme “My Community, My Trees” that reflects their understanding of the importance of a diverse urban and community forest. Before beginning to create the posters, encourage students to think about how different trees contribute to their lives in their school, in the community, or in Massachusetts.
  2. Hold a School Poster Contest
    You may select the winner or have a judging panel for the classroom and school contest. Judges could include other students, garden club members, tree board members, nursery personnel, arborists, the city forester, teachers, PTA members, or individuals with an interest in trees who are willing to volunteer some time.
  3. Submit your Winning Poster to DCR!

Submit your winning poster to DCR by March 23, 2018.

Poster Contest Prizes

First Place

  • A tree is planted on the grounds of the winner’s school (valued at $200)
  • A certificate for art supplies and many other prizes
  • and more…

Second Place, Third Place, and Honorable Mention Winners receive art supplies and many other prizes at a ceremony for all the winners.

Winner’s teacher will also receive prizes that include educational materials that will support continued learning about forests and natural resource conservation.

Poster Contest Rules

  1. All entries must be original artwork created by a student who is currently in the fifth grade. A student may enter the contest only once.
  2. The student’s first name and last initial must be written in the lower right-hand corner on the front of the poster. Do not include the last name on the front of the poster.
  3. CONTENT: The poster must be related to the contest theme in some way. The theme “My Community, My Trees” must be on the poster. All words must be spelled correctly and be written clearly.
  4. ENTRY MEDIA a) Entries may be done in marker, crayon, paint pens, watercolor, ink, acrylic, colored pencil, and/or tempera paint. b) Collages are not acceptable. (Do not glue anything on your poster.) c) Computer or photo-generated art and/or printing is not acceptable. d) Entries should not display the names of commercial products, companies, or organizations.
  5. SIZE: Entries must be no smaller than 8.5 x 11” and no larger than 14 x 18.”
  6. PAPER: Entries must be done on paper that will allow for duplication, display, and framing.
  7. Entries should not be matted, mounted, laminated, framed, or folded.
  8. Submit your school’s entry by March 16, 2018 to DCR’s Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator, Julie Coop, as described on the “School Winner Report Form” on the next page. Affix School Winner Report Form to the back of the school’s winning poster.


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