Skip to content Skip to footer

Youth Wildlife Art Contest 

The Youth Wildlife Art Contest encourages students in kindergarten through high school to observe, understand, and ultimately share what they have learned about migratory birds. By creating a unique art entry for the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival, the students are provided an opportunity to artistically express their knowledge of the diversity, interdependence, and beauty of wildlife. The art contest suggests educators, supervising adults, and students to use diverse resources to direct their exploration and investigation of migratory birds and their habitat needs, and the principles of visual art design.

​Student submissions are judged in groups according to grade level: K,1-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Contest scholarships are awarded to the top three winners in each group, sponsored through the Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE APRIL 5, 2024 TO THE HARNEY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. Only one entry per youth, and entry forms are required. Submission guidelines are available by emailing

Artwork submitted for the youth art contest will be displayed at Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building (in conjunction with the Migratory Bird Festival Wildlife Art Show & Sale) from April 12-14, 2024, and anyone can come vote on their favorite pieces. Winning art will be posted digitally on the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival and the Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Facebook and its website gallery pages in late April 2024. 

Winning artwork may also be selected to replace current youth art on pole banners in downtown Burns! The pole banners are displayed for several months each spring and we love to feature our local youth artists! 

Artist In Residence: Janet Stuart

Each year, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge coordinates with area schools on art and natural resource education in association with the Friends of Malheur NWR and the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival. The following Youth Art Programs combine science and art to expand student’s understanding of bird species and habitat while building creative skills and artistic masterpieces.

The AIR Program is a dynamic arts and science initiative designed to teach youth about migratory birds, their habitat needs, and to learn a new creative art technique. Ultimately, the program encourages students in kindergarten through 8th grade to observe, understand, and share what they have learned about migratory birds and conservation through art.

Classrooms throughout Harney County are visited by a Malheur Refuge staff member who teaches the students about migratory birds, their habitat needs, and wildlife conservation while the Friends’ sponsored AIR instructor teaches creative art techniques to foster a lifelong appreciation for art and wildlife. In recognition of their artistic efforts, the student’s artwork is displayed at the annual Harney County Migratory Bird Festival and in storefronts throughout Burns and Hines. 

  • Janet Stuart, in her own words:

    I am an artist and art teacher living in Vancouver, Washington. My teaching career spans grades K-12 in art.  I have taught art at international schools for over 10 years and in public schools in Alaska for 11 years. My training also includes AP art and IB art. I retired as a full time art teacher a few years ago but continue to work as a substitute art teacher – just this year I taught art to grades 6-12 on Grand Bahama Island for six months.

    When I taught art both overseas and stateside, I created opportunities for my students to learn about the local art and culture. For example, in Zimbabwe, I invited local basket weavers, paper makers and stone carvers to teach. In Alaska, students learned to carve soapstone. In China, my students learned calligraphy and Asian scroll painting techniques.

    I am excited to work as the Artist in Residence at the Malheur National Refuge. The AIR Program is a bridge between hearts and minds, fostering expression through art and deepening our community’s understanding and appreciation for nature. 

The AIR program is sponsored by the Friends of Malheur NWR (

Together, the AIR Program and Youth Wildlife Art Contest:
  • Foster Awareness of wildlife habitat and its importance for bird migrations.
  • Encourage learning about wildlife and bird species characteristics to spark curiosity about the natural world.
  • Develop the skill of close observation for scientific and artistic purposes.
  • Encourage creative experimentation.
  • Provide a rich artistic and educational experience for Harney County students.
  • Generate artwork for the festival’s student art exhibit in a way that is inclusive.
  • Connect Harney County youth to their community and beyond be showcasing their work through the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival