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First Signs of Spring Arrive at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS—The first signs of spring have arrived at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, and they are not what you might expect.
The redbuds are not blooming.
The purple martin scouts are not circling the birdhouses around the casting pond.
The bass are not spawning.
But a harbinger of the changing seasons just as reliable landed in Zoe Ann Stinchcomb’s mailbox this week: the first batch of entries in the Texas division of the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest.
The carefully wrapped envelope came from Del Rio Middle School in Del Rio, and its contents were as precious and welcome as any traditional sign of spring: 18 original pieces of art drawn by eighth-grade students of teacher Allyn Germany.
Any student in grades 4—12 in public, private or home schools may enter by drawing a picture of an officially recognized state fish and writing an essay about it.
The artwork will be judged with hundreds of other entries from Texas in April, and the first-place drawing in each of three grade-level divisions will be sent to Wildlife Forever headquarters in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, to compete against other state winners for national recognition. First-, second- and third-place winners from Texas will also receive cash prizes made possible by the Toyota Texas Bass Classic Foundation.
In June the winning students and their families from all over the nation will gather at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center to compete for national prizes including the Art of Conservation Stamp Award, People’s Choice Award and Seth Thomas Spradlin Best of Show Award against the backdrop of an art fair put on by professional and amateur artists from around the state.
Texas has had the highest number of entries in the nation for the past four years, and Texas division contest coordinator Zoe Ann Stinchcomb expects a similar display of Texas pride this year. “All entries must be postmarked by midnight March 31, 2011, so there is no time to lose,” she said.
Information on the contest, including all rules and an entry form, can be found at http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishart.
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