Hillsborough County Awards Student Winners for Inaugural Recycling & Waste Reduction Art Contest ‘What Can We Do’
To promote environmental awareness and engage the youth in a creative endeavor, the Hillsborough County Solid Waste Management Department organized its inaugural Hillsborough County Recycling & Waste Reduction Art Contest. The competition’s theme: “What can we do” to help the community reduce waste, reuse what we have, and recycle more.
The contest, which began on June 7th and concluded on July 28th, provided an exciting platform for students to teach themselves and then to teach others through artistic expression about what they learned on how to take care of the planet and their communities. With age groups divided into four categories, spanning from 1st to 12th grade, each category had two winners, with one being recognized for ‘Best Drawing’ and the other for ‘Best Sculpture’, amounting to a total of eight winners. Here’s a copy of the initial contest solicitation and submission form with contest rules.
The Solid Waste Department advertised the contest online and presented to over 450 Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation Department summer camp attendees to encourage participation. The students were able to work on their submissions during their art class periods. By the end of the competition, the Solid Waste Department received over 220 submissions, including 40 sculptures, for the inaugural contest.
Can you imagine trying to fit 40 sculptures in your office? Submissions included drawings about recycling rules, removing ocean plastics, and banning plastics in stores. They also included sculptures made from a variety of reused and repurposed materials into robots, finger skateboards, foosball tables, a jellyfish and coral reef, and a model aquarium.
Entries were evaluated based on several criteria, including the clarity and impact of the environmental message, level of creativity and originality displayed, and artistic execution of the ideas presented. The judging panel included Solid Waste Department staff.
The winners were recognized for their exceptional artwork at a ceremony hosted at ZooTampa at Lowry Park on Oct. 7. The students received several Hillsborough County sustainable promotional items, free tickets to ZooTampa at Lowry Park, and a certificate of achievement. ZooTampa at Lowry Park also gave a private show with one of their animal ambassadors to the students. The event also received publicity, including a Hillsborough County press release and coverage by WFLA Channel 8.
The Hillsborough County Recycling & Waste Reduction Art Contest successfully initiated an opportunity for young artists to showcase their talents and express their ideas to help the environment. The competition underscored the potential of art as a powerful tool for communication and advocacy. The success of the inaugural contest provided the fuel to continue this fun and engaging opportunity for years to come and make an even greater impact. As these emerging artists continue to develop their abilities, their impact on promoting recycling, waste reduction, and environmental responsibility is expected to extend further into the community.
Danny Gallagher, E.I. is the Recycling Coordinator for the Hillsborough County Solid Waste Management Department. Danny can be reached at (813) 221-6549 or GallagherD@HCFLGov.net.