CHARLESTON — West Virginia American Water announced that entries are being accepted for its fourth annual “Protect Our Watersheds” Art Contest. Students grades 4-6 in schools served by West Virginia American Water are eligible, as well as individual students who live in the company’s service area. The contest encourages students to tap into their artistic talents to express the importance of protecting West Virginia’s water resources.

West Virginia American Water recently sent contest information and applications to nearly 130 schools in its service territory, encouraging teachers to promote the contest as a fun and imaginative way to draw students’ attention to protecting and preserving West Virginia’s watersheds. Winners will be selected based on creative vision, artistic talent, understanding of watershed protection and the ability to communicate that understanding. As part of their entry, students must write a brief narrative on the personal impact of watershed protection.

“This contest demonstrates West Virginia American Water’s commitment to watershed education and protection,” said Megan Hannah, community relations specialist at West Virginia American Water. “These students will be the next generation of watershed protectors, and their attitudes and behaviors on the subject will be formed at this early age. It’s important that we plant the seed now on the importance of our water resources.”

The deadline for artwork submission is March 15. Contest guidelines and entry forms are available on the company’s website at www.westvirginiaamwater.com, under “News & Community,” and “Community Involvement.”

In total, four students will be selected for the following awards:

• Grand prize: First-place prize, plus a miniature replication of the student’s artwork will be printed on “Bloomers” cards or another similar education medium distributed by West Virginia American Water. “Bloomers” are unique seed-filled grow cards, which can be planted in the ground and, with water and sun, will produce a variety of wildflowers.

First place: $100 local bookstore gift card.

Second place: $50 local bookstore gift card.

Third place: $25 local bookstore gift card.

All entrants will receive a Watershed Champion Certificate. Last year’s contest received nearly 60 entries, and the grand prize was awarded to Austyn Paw of Jane Lew, a fifth grade student at St. Patrick School, whose entry depicted the cyclical nature of watershed protection.

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