Column: Art provides environmental lessons

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Commentary by Amanda Cross

Mayor Jim Brainard recently recognized 21 talented young artists for their winning entries in the Carmel Green Initiative Earth Day art contest in a ceremony held at City Hall.

Carmel Green Initiative again collaborated with schools, congregations, Scout troops and home-school organizations this year to spread the word about the contest and solicit entries. For the competition, kindergarten through 12th-graders learn about environmental stewardship and create postcard-sized artwork with an environmental theme.

“I believe saving energy and protecting the planet are important because we need healthy foods, cleaner air and a world that is green and beautiful,” said Eddie Copsey, fifth-grade winner.

Themes have included “Celebrate Our Earth,” “Save Energy” and “Save Bees and Butterflies,” among others.

This year, CGI received 255 entries from 20 schools and other organizations.

The art contest lets students demonstrate and reinforce what they’ve learned about the environment, and it gives them a way to express their own thoughts and ideas about how to care for the planet.

“My artwork is inspired by the movie WALL-E,” said Emma Spahn, second-grade winner. “The humans don’t take care of Earth, and they can’t even live on it anymore. I don’t want that to happen, so I am asking people to do their best to throw away their trash, and I will do the same.”

Entries were on exhibit around Carmel at the Monon Center, at Muldoon’s on Main Street and even featured on the big screen at Midtown Plaza to celebrate Earth Day, April 22.

Angela Wang, third-grade winner, hopes it is motivating.

“When people see my artwork, I want them to notice that when I drew this, I didn’t draw it for any random reason,” she said. “I want everyone to try and help the earth.”

The strong community support for the program demonstrates to the students how important these issues are. Best of all, parents can order postcards featuring their student’s artwork. You can see the winning entries from this year and years past on the Carmel Green Initiative website.

If you know a student or group of students who would like to participate in the art contest next time around, keep an eye on carmelgreen.org/live-and-learn/art-contest. The contest is open to all students in and around Carmel who want to use art to share their love of the earth.

Amanda Cross is a volunteer with the Carmel Green Initiative.

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