Seeking Young Artists to Help Beach Birds

Tuesday March 14, 2023

The Beach Sign Youth Art Contest is back, and Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is calling on all youth, ages K to 12, to help spread the word about the importance of beaches to shorebirds. While most locals know about the annual beach closure at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge for nesting piping plovers and least terns, many visitors either do not pay attention to the “Area Closed” signs posted at the boundaries or understand why they are closed in the first place.
“We’re hoping that colorful artwork created by local youth, with clever messages, will grab beach goer’s attention”, says Nancy Pau, Wildlife Biologist at the refuge. “These signs can also convey the reason behind the beach closure and what visitors can do to help birds and important habitats.”
In addition to the federally listed piping plover and least tern nesting on the refuge, dozens of bird species use the refuge beach as a rest stop while migrating thousands of miles when it comes time to start opening the beach for public use in August. “This is a great way for local students to take part in wildlife conservation right in their back yard, while using their skill and creativity to convey important messages about respecting shorebird habitat,” says Refuge Manager Matthew Hillman. By using informational signs to educate visitors about shorebirds, the refuge aims to provide the best experience for beachgoers and shorebirds alike.
Submissions for the Beach Sign Youth Art Contest are being accepted until Friday, April 26th. Winning artwork will be chosen from five age categories, which will then be made into signs displayed on refuge beach. Each winner will receive prizes. A grand prize winner will also be chosen and given the opportunity to help the Refuge Biologist conduct a plover survey on the closed refuge beach.
Contest winners will be announced at “Let’s Go Outside” Event Saturday, June 3rd, 2023.
Those interested in the contests are encouraged to review the full contest guidelines and criteria at
If you have any questions email Heather McIntosh at

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