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.

Table of Contents

Why a poster contest?

Our 2022 winner is Emma B. from Molin Elementary School in Newburyport
Our 2022 winner is Emma B. from Molin Elementary School in Newburyport

Trees are the dominant feature of all forest communities and can be found in so many parts of 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.

2023 Theme - It’s Time for Trees!

March 15, 2023

Each year 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.

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

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

  • Be a Cool Community, Plant Trees! (2022)
  • Trees Please (2020)
  • My Community, My Trees (2018)
  • 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 2023 is “It’s Time for Trees”

The deadline for the 2023 contest is March 15, 2023.

Additional Resources for 2023 Theme - It’s Time for Trees!

Contest Process

Deadline for Submissions is March 15
  1. Create a Poster
    Ask each student to create a poster around the theme 
    It’s Time for Trees” that reflects their understanding of trees and the importance of trees in urban and community forests. The poster may relate to the theme of trees in our communities and how they protect (and are a part of) our natural resources. Students are encouraged to be creative with the theme. The theme is intended to invite a variety of interpretations related to the importance of trees in our neighborhoods.
  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 tree warden, teachers, PTA members, or individuals with an interest in trees who are willing to volunteer some time. Home schooled or non-participating school students may submit their posters and enter the contest individually.
  3. Submit your Winning Poster to DCR!

Additional Resources for Contest Process

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 current theme 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 to DCR’s Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator, Julie Coop, as described on the “School Winner Report Form” on the page six of the application. Affix School Winner Report Form to the back of the poster.  See deadlines noted above.

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