NEBRASKA CITY, Neb. (December 3, 2008) – The Arbor Day Foundation is calling all fifth-grade students to participate in the 2009 Arbor Day National Poster Contest, an annual competition that engaged nearly 70,000 fifth-grade classrooms in 2008. The 2009 contest, sponsored by Toyota, will carry the theme, "Trees are Terrific...In Cities and Towns!"
The competition is free and open to fifth-grade students nationwide. As a supplement to the poster contest, several lesson plans are available to educators for classroom use. The lesson plan activities help increase students' knowledge of how trees grow and the environmental benefits trees provide. Activities correlate with the National Education Standards.
The 2009 theme, "Trees are Terrific...In Cities and Towns!" was chosen in part because it helps students better understand the importance of trees in communities. This is the fourth time the Foundation has selected this theme since the poster contest's 1994 inception. The theme has always been among the most popular.
"A lot of students relate to the theme because they can actually see the trees that are a part of their community" said Michelle Saulnier-Scribner, program director of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Students learn that properly planting and caring for trees plays an important part in the quality of life and environmental health of their community."
Public can vote online
A new component will be added to the judging of the 2009 contest posters. For the first time students, teachers, and other visitors to the Foundation's web site, arborday.org, can help select a finalist for the national competition. From March 30 through April 3, visitors can select their favorite poster. The entry with the most number of votes will automatically move to the final round of judging.
How to Enter
To enter the contest, students, teachers and parents can visit www.arborday.org/postercontest for contest rules and entry guidelines. The site includes information on how to request the free 2009 contest materials as well as extensive, downloadable activity guides that teachers can incorporate into the contest.
Prizes will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners. The national winner, his or her parents, and the teacher of the winning student will receive an expense-paid trip to the National Arbor Day Awards Weekend in Nebraska City in April 2009. The national winner also will receive a $1,000 savings bond, a lifetime membership to the Arbor Day Foundation, a tree planted in his or her name and a framed color copy of his or her poster. The national winner's teacher will receive $200.
The second- and third-place winners will each receive savings bonds and trees will be planted in their honor. Prizes also will be awarded on the state level.
More about Arbor Day: On January 4, 1872, J. Sterling Morton first proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called "Arbor Day" at a meeting of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture. The date was set for April 10, 1872. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for planting properly the largest number of trees on that day. More than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. Now, 136 years later, each April, millions of trees are planted all across the United States in celebration of Arbor Day.
About Toyota: Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants, with another under construction in Mississippi. Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Through its corporate initiatives, manufacturing operations and philanthropy, Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. In 2007, Toyota contributed more than $56 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S. For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/community.