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K-5 youth urged to create works with tree, wildlife theme for annual Arbor Month.

Trees are a primary characteristic of Lake Oswego, and this April, in honor of Arbor Day, the city is holding its annual art contest.

Starting April 1, in celebration of Lake Oswego Arbor Month as well as 33 years of Tree City USA status, the city is hosting a tree- and wildlife-themed art contest for elementary school students in the community.

Students are invited to create an art piece centered around the theme of "wildlife in the urban forest." Participants are encouraged to create art in different mediums that feature insects, amphibians, mammals or any other type of animal that lives within a forest setting.

"We are encouraging students in Lake Oswego to create scenes where trees and wildlife are co-existing with one another," said Morgan Holen, contract arborist for the city.

The contest has been a beloved event throughout the city for over 10 years, according to Holen. It first began as a poetry contest before transitioning to artwork to allow Lake Oswego youth more opportunities to tap into their creative sides.

"The art contest has been a lot of fun for the past few years, and that's why we've kind of stuck with allowing kids to freely draw and create because it gives them more freedom to interpret the theme however they want — and the turnout has been great," Holen said.

This year the city decided to hold the contest electronically as an experiment. Students are invited to create art, scan the piece and upload a digital file with the submission form that can be found on the city's website — which also details all the rules and steps youth must take to submit online.

"We'll be displaying everyone's electronic art at City Hall and the public library," Holen said.

The works will be on display throughout the month. The contest closes April 25, and three winners will be announced Friday, April 29 — National Arbor Day. The winners will be invited to the Lake Oswego Farmers Market on May 21 and presented with their prizes.

"The Farmers Market has generously allowed us different booths to celebrate trees, and I will be awarding the contest prizes at the market, which are not announced until that day," Holen said.

More information about the art contest and other kid-friendly Arbor Month activities can be found on the city's website under "Arbor Month events."

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