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State’s birding art contest for students attracts gifted young artists

youth birding winner, 2018

Rose-breasted Grosbeak by Leonardo Maduro-Salvarrey. Overall high school winner, 2018. Credit: georgiawildlife.com

By David Pendered

Young artists are again invited to participate in a state contest to draw a bird in a contest, this one to appear on the T-shirt of the 14th Annual Birding Competition. The instructions sound pleasant enough, but a glance at a recent winner shows the skill that socially engaged youngsters bring to the event.

youth birding winner, 2018

Rose-breasted Grosbeak by Leonardo Maduro-Salvarrey. Overall high school winner, 2018. Credit: georgiawildlife.com

Consider the winner of the 2018 high school division – Leonardo Maduro-Salvarrey. His winning entry was a rose-breasted Grosbeak. By the time he won the art contest, he had already been portrayed by VOXATL as a teen political activist.

At the start of his senior year at Peachtree Ridge High School, Maduro-Salvarrey was featured in a story titled Vox talks politics and community with 7 Atlanta teen activists. The story appeared in VOXATL, a website for and by teens that quoted him:

  • Q: “What advice would you give to potential teen activists who really want to get involved, but aren’t sure how?”
  • A: “If you personally see a problem in your environment and you want other people to know about it, you have to speak up. You have to speak out.”

Maduro-Salvarrey enrolled in Georgia State University and he continues to maintain a profile on the Internet.

He didn’t have to, but Maduro-Salvarrey accepted GSU’s invitation to students to produce a portfolio that would appear on the university’s website. The purpose of the portfolios, according to GSU, is to, “gain valuable exposure for your work and projects, connect with members of the Georgia State University network, and be discovered by potential employers, recruiters and classmates.”

youth birding, middle school

Great Horned Owl, by Alston Li. Overall middle school winner, 2018. Credit: georgiawildlife.com

Maduro-Salvarrey produced nine-page Powerpoint presentation. Published on Nov. 14, 2018, the document provides what the author described as, “A quick overview of archaeology as a career field.”

This year’s flyer for the bird-drawing contest portrays something that sounds like a fun event at summer camp – one that might provide a morning’s worth of activity before the youngsters break for lunch followed a wildlife walk:

  • “Hey, kids! Would you like your artwork to appear on the 14th Annual Youth Birding Competition T-shirt? How about winning a Michaels gift card for free art supplies? Then plan on taking part in the 2019 T-shirt Art Contest.”

The rules seem easy enough. Artists should select a bird that’s not been chosen for a previous T-Shirt. The bird should be created on a paper or sheet canvas measuring at least 8-by-10 inches but not larger than 11-by-17 inches, and post marked by March 13.

A primary rule about the bird itself states:

  • “The illustrated bird must be a wild species and native to Georgia. Artwork of exotic or domesticated species (such as European starlings, pigeons, chickens, yellow ducks, peacocks and parrots) will be disqualified. Draw or paint the bird’s features as accurately as possible. A simple background that provides habitat context is good to include, but make sure your bird stands out well and is the focus of the artwork. Also keep in mind that deep, contrasting colors scan best for a T-shirt.”

Note to readers: For more information on the T-shirt art contest visit the website or contact art contest coordinator Linda May at (706) 557-3226 or linda.may@dnr.ga.gov.


youth birding, elementary

Painted Bunting by Alexis Tan. Overall elementary school winner. Credit: georgiawildlife.com


youth birding, primary winner

Eastern bluebird, by Aleena Huang. Overall primary school winner. Credit: georgiawildlife.com

David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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