Leading up to its 28th Annual Arbor Day Celebration, the City of Brentwood is accepting submissions for poster, writing and photography contests.

The theme for all of this year’s Arbor Day competitions will be “Branching Out.” Winners will be recognized at the Arbor Day Celebration, held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 1 at the Brentwood Library.

City Commissioners and Tree Board member Betsy Crossley says the competitions are an essential part of the Arbor Day event.

“In a way they’re a highlight of the celebration because [they bring] our high school and elementary school kids into the conversation about Arbor Day,” Crossley said.

Each competition has specific guidelines for participants to follow and different rules regarding eligibility.

The poster contest is open to sixth grade students at Brentwood, Sunset and Woodland Middle Schools, as well as third grade students at Crockett, Edmondson, Kenrose, Scales, Sunset and Lipscomb Elementary Schools. Posters are required to be 11 inches by 17 inches and cannot feature any images that raise more than half an inch from the surface. They can be made using a wide variety of substances that include any natural materials, pen and ink, oils, watercolors, photographs, letters—it’s really up to the creativity of the participant.

The deadline for submitting a poster for this contest is Feb. 22. All posters should feature the artist’s name, grade and school on the front. Students should submit their posters to their teachers. Cash prizes will be given out to first, second and third place winners.

The writing contest is open to high schoolers enrolled in English or Environmental classes at Brentwood High School, Ravenwood High School or Brentwood Academy. Essays can be prose or poetry, Crossley said, just as long as they are 500 words or less, double-spaced, and are submitted electronically. The names of both the writer and the writer’s teacher should be on the top of each page submitted, along with the name of the school the writer attends.

The deadline for entering the writing contest is 4 p.m. on March 17. Cash prizes will be given to first, second and third place winners, and first and second place winners will have the chance to read their works at the Arbor Day Celebration at the library.

The photography contest is a little bit different this year, Crossley said, because it is now open to all Brentwood residents, not just students. Entries in the photography competition can be either color or black and white. Photographs must be at least 11 inches long on the shortest end and should be mounted on a white mat with at least a two-and-a-half-inch border around them.

In order to be eligible for the competition, photographs must be submitted at the front desk of the Brentwood Library by 7 p.m. on Feb. 22. Again, there will be cash prizes awarded to first, second and third place winners.
The poster competition this year is sponsored by the Keller Williams Realty/Meritant Group, while the writing and photography contests are sponsored by the H.G. Hill Realty Company.

Crossley said the theme this year was chosen because “branching out” was both a description of what trees do and a metaphor for growing children, who “branch out” and do different things in their lives.

She said so far the signs pointed to a crowded field for this year’s contests.

“We’ve already had several schools call back and say they’re interested in participating, so it should be a robust competition,” Crossley said.

As much as contest participants enjoy the thrill of competing and winning, though, Crossley said that she and other members of the Tree Board got their own special kind of satisfaction from their involvement with the event.

“I think the Tree Board has probably enjoyed reading them and judging them as much as the kids have enjoyed writing them,” she said. “We get some really amazing entries each year and are always astounded by the quality of our students.”

For more information about the competitions visit the City of Brentwood’s site here.

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