Poster Contest

The 2021 Youth Conservation Poster Contest, open to all Spartanburg County K-12 students, invites students to combine artistic skills with scientific knowledge to illustrate the theme “Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities.” Students may design their posters/images digitally or on paper, but all entries should be submitted electronically (photographs or scanned images of paper illustrations may be submitted as .jpg, .png, or .pdf files). Entries are due by September 30, 2021, but they may be submitted at any time!

To submit your poster, attach it and the information from this form to the Soil and Water Conservation District.  Or to send through the mail, call 864.814.2471, option 3 or email for the address.

**Students from other counties in SC should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District for poster submission guidelines**

Click here for a printable .pdf brochure

Click here for a printable .pdf of these guidelines

Background: Trees and forests are critical to providing clean air and water, healthy soil, abundant wildlife habitat and valuable products we use every day. They also promote mental, physical, and emotional health and have a huge positive impact on local economies! Healthy forests—those which support a variety of plants and animals and provide the things humans and other animals need to survive—promote healthy communities in several ways.

Environmental Health: Healthy forests promote healthy communities by creating healthier environments. Trees reduce stormwater runoff, increase the soil’s ability to absorb and store water, and prevent soil erosion—all of which lead to cleaner, healthier waterways and reduce flooding that can impact communities. Trees can also absorb and break down certain pollutants, and their shading and cooling effects make cities more livable and help reduce cooling costs and energy consumption. Through photosynthesis, which converts carbon dioxide and water into tree trunks, roots, and leaves, trees can help capture and store atmospheric greenhouse gases and mitigate the risks associated with climate change.  

Mental, Physical, and Emotional Health: Healthy forests also promote mental, physical, and emotional health. Studies indicate that spending time in forests reduces stress, improves mood, boosts concentration, and can strengthen the immune system. Attractive “green” environments (such as forests) enhance the motivation for physical exercise; exercise, in turn, reduces our risk for numerous illnesses. These “green” areas also promote community identity, social activity, and social participation.

Economic Health: Approximately 63% of South Carolina is forested. Forestry and forest product industries provide more than 98,000 jobs and have a $21.2 billion impact on our state’s economy. Forests also provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism, and these economic sectors also make significant contributions to local economies. Healthy forests create jobs and economic opportunity; jobs and economic opportunity, in turn, promote community health!

The Challenge: Keeping forests healthy by replanting when trees are removed, inspecting trees regularly for signs of infection or infestation, identifying and removing non-native and invasive species, and preventing pollution of the air, soil, and water are all ways to promote forest—and community—health. Please join us in celebrating the connections between #HealthyForests and #HealthyCommunities by submitting your illustration by September 30, 2021! 


  • Allowable poster/image sizes are between 8.5″x11″ and 14″x22″.
  • The contest theme (Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities) must be on the front of the poster/image.
  • Student and school names should not appear on the front of the poster/image.
  • Any media may be used to create a 2D (flat) effect, including paint, marker, ink, crayon, charcoal, colored pencil, stickers, collage, wallpaper, magazines, photos, digitally-designed graphics, and flat objects found in nature.
  • Posters must be the work of an individual student (no team entries).
  • Entries should be the contestants’ original creations and may not be traced from photos or other artists’ works.
  • Once posters are complete, make a .pdf, .jpg, or .png of your entry using a scanner or camera (or, in the case of digital illustrations, convert the image to a .pdf, .jpg, or .png file type), then have a parent or guardian submit the entry online using this form.


  • Photographs and digital pictures are encouraged.
  • Successful posters/images present a simple, concise visual message, similar to a billboard or bumper sticker.
  • As much as possible, limit text to the contest topic (“Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities”). Additional text can be difficult to read and complicates the message.
  • The contest topic should be in bold, clear, unique text. Make sure the words stand out and are easy to read!
  • All text should be large enough to be read easily.
  • Avoid fluorescent-colored posters.

Click here to see a sample.


Posters will be evaluated by a panel of judges according to the following criteria:

  • Conservation Message: poster illustrates the theme “Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities”  (50%)
  • Visual Effectiveness: poster attracts attention, uses colors and white space effectively, is easy to read, is neat, and makes good use of color and shading. (30%)
  • Originality (10%)
  • Universal Appeal: information conveyed on poster is relevant worldwide (10%)


Have a parent or guardian upload a scanned or photographed version of your entry (.pdf., .jpg, or .png formats) using this online submission form by September 30, 2021. Please retain your original poster entry in a safe location until December 15, 2021, as we may request hard copies of select entries.

Competition Progression and Awards

Spartanburg County winners will progress to the state competition; state winners will progress to the national competition. Cash prizes will be awarded at each level.

  • County Competition: $25 prizes will be awarded to winning posters in each of five grade level categories. Cash prizes are sponsored by the Spartanburg Soil and Water Conservation District.
  • State Competition: $50 prizes will be awarded to winning posters in each of five grade level categories. Cash prizes are sponsored by the SC Association of Conservation Districts.
  • National Competition: First place prizes in each grade level category will receive $200; second place posters will receive $150; third place posters will receive $100. Cash prizes are sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts Auxiliary and the Albert I. Pierce Foundation.

Additional Resources

  • Teaching with iTree – Project Learning Tree’s Teaching with i-Tree unit includes three hands-on activities that help middle and high school students discover and analyze the many ecosystem services that trees provide. Students input data they collect into a free online tool that calculates the dollar value of the benefits provided by a tree, or a set of trees.
  • Project Learning Tree – International Day of Forests Activities


  • Spartanburg Soil and Water Conservation District
  • SC Association of Conservation Districts
  • SC Department of Natural Resources
  • US Forest Service
  • National Association of Conservation Districts