Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

We All Live in a Watershed Poster Contest

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2018-2019 Poster Contest

This year we received 674 posters from students in 33 middle schools across New York State. The 14 winning posters will be featured in the 2020 calendar, which will be distributed later this year. Congratulations to all of the winning students! Please read on for the details of the contest. We look forward to another contest in the fall!

Poster Contest Theme

What you do at your home and in your community affects everyone downstream of you. This poster contest is meant to encourage students to learn about their role in the watershed they live in and how to conserve and protect our water resources, now and for future generations.

All Middle School students (Grades 6-8) in New York State public and private schools are eligible to enter the poster contest. One student per poster.

Poster Requirements

Posters must clearly convey the theme "We All Live in a Watershed". You may use any type of media, including watercolor, pen and ink, crayon, chalk and markers. The poster must be 8½ " x 11", landscape layout on a white background. Posters must contain original hand-drawn artwork - no computer generated posters or graphics. Copyrighted characters (such as Dory, Sponge Bob, Ariel, etc.) and clip art will not be accepted. Keep in mind that posters will be on public display and should be easy to see or read. Winning posters will be compiled for distribution as part of a 2020 calendar.

Prizes and Awards

  • Each participant receives a Certificate of Recognition (PDF, 114 KB).
  • The top 14 posters will be included in a 2020 calendar which will be distributed throughout New York State.
  • The 14 winning students will receive an engraved plaque, $25 gift certificate, and an invitation to a local NYWEA chapter's event. The teacher of the top winner will be presented with an engraved plaque.


DEC and NYWEA staff will review all posters and pick the top 30 entries. NYWEA membership and DEC staff will vote for the 14 winning posters. Judging will be based on the following criteria:

  • Clear and correct message conveyed by text and artwork
  • Creativity, originality, and artistic quality
  • Visual clarity

Do Your Homework

We encourage you to research the topic of "We All Live in a Watershed" so the posters reflect the contest theme. The following websites may help you in your research (Please note: some of the links below will take you off DEC's website.)

Lesson Plan Ideas

DEC created a lesson plan and presentation for teachers and a student worksheet. The lesson instructs students on how locate a watershed, identify possible pollution sources, and guides students to brainstorm solutions and actions to reduce and prevent pollution within a watershed.

Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) is a collection of innovative, water-related activities designed for use in K-12 classrooms. Additional resources are available on Project WET's national web site.

Hot Topic

Human activities leave behind materials like pesticides, pet waste, trash and even loose soil that can wash into our waters and pollute them. There are lots of actions that people can take to protect water-proper fertilizer application, septic tank maintenance, planting vegetation along the shoreline (buffer), cleaning up pet waste, planting rain gardens, pumping-out boats properly, and helping to prevent sewage spills (don't dump fats or grease; don't flush diapers, baby wipes or personal hygiene products).

Release Form

Each poster must have a Poster Contest Release Form (PDF, 27.7 KB) securely fastened to the back of the poster. All artwork submitted becomes the property of the NYSDEC, and may be reproduced. A poster not accompanied by a completed release form will not be eligible for judging.

Mail To

NYSDEC - Calendar Contest
625 Broadway, 4th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-3508


For more information on this poster contest, please contact Karen Stainbrook or Ken Kosinski at 518-402-8086.