Growing Works of Art Contest

Growing Works of Art is an arts and writing contest for students in grades K-8. This contest is hosted in partnership with UVM Extension and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, & Recreation.

For more information on this program, contact Rebecca Roy, Interpretive Program Manager at

Growing Works of Art 2019 William Burkholder

2023 Contest Theme

Branching Out

This year’s theme celebrates the connections we share with trees by creating a work of art and written story that showcases a meaningful experience where students have grown, changed, or learned something new because of the trees in our lives. Students will write a short story (one to three paragraphs) and create art illustrating their chosen tree.

View Contest Description

Want to incorporate in your classroom? Check out the supporting activity guide.

Contest Prizes

One winner will be selected from each grade (K-8) and receive:

  • Artwork and stories featured online.
  • A Vermont State Parks punch pass ($30 value).
  • Featured on WCAX’s “Across the Fence” television show (if possible in 2023).

Submission Guidelines

  • Students currently enrolled in grades K-8 in Vermont are eligible to enter.
  • One prize will be award per grade.
  • Only one entry per student.
  • Art must be original and no larger than 11 x 17 inches.
  • It can be created in pen, pencil, crayon, pastels, paint, cloth, collage, photography or computer art.
  • Entries must include the artwork and the written portion.
  • A completed entry form must accompany the submission.
  • Entry must be titled with the tree story title and signed in the lower right-hand corner.
  • Teachers and club or organizational leaders may submit entries in groups as long as each individual submission has the completed entry form.
  • Entries become the property of the Vermont Division of Forests and will not be returned.
  • Entries can be submitted electronically to

Judging Criteria

Entries will be judged on 50% creativity and originality, and 50% successful communication about their tree story.

Growing Works of Art Tree in fall

Contest Entry Form

Contest entries can be submitted via mail or email. All entries must include an entry form below.

Entries are due on March 10, 2023.

Entry Form (regular PDF) Entry Form (fillable PDF)

Email entries (link to a folder or scanned document) send to:

Mailed entries can be sent to:

Rebecca Roy
1 National Life Drive, Davis 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3801

2022 Contest Winners

K: Jackson Partlow

The Best Birch Tree at my House

I have a lot of trees in my yard. This one is better because I like white and I like black. I climb on the tree. I watch it and every year it grows. I ride my dirt bike around it.

First Grade: Auden Rubin

The Forest Trees

I was in forest kindergarten and we put out buckets on sap trees to make maple syrup. A few weeks later we got out all the buckets and boiled the syrup. We had syrup tea and we got to bring home a little bottle of syrup. We made pancakes outside in the forest. We used syrup on top of it. It was delicious.

One time, we went to a river where there were hundreds of pine trees surrounding. We followed the river and went into great, rocky and foresty places. One person in my class fell into the water and got soaked. Well, we all pretty much did get soaked. We didn’t have our shoes on or our socks, so we were allowed to go in the river. I didn’t want to have my shoes or socks off. The stream was a long stream. We finally went back. It was so fun.

When I made my picture, I started with a brown little spot on a page to make these pine trees with a little owl in the night. I started to use a green paint and filled around the brown trunk. When that was done, I made nighttime with dark blue sky around. I drew an owl on a tree trunk with pencil. I colored it with the pastels. I did yellow eyes with black spots in the middle for the eyes. I colored the rest in gently black to make gray. I colored the beak the most so it would look right. I colored the rest of the tree trunk green for leaves. I started to make yellow spots as the starts. They needed more light so I blended them in. I did a circle with white pastel for the moon. I switched to paint and painted it in silver.


Second Grade: Elet McCusker

The Hammock Tree

I have tree at my house that got struck by lightning! But the tree is still strong. I have a hammock on that tree and I swing on it.

Third Grade: Elise Menguc

My Elm Tree

I live on a goat farm and I like to climb on the elm tree that’s inside the goats’ pasture. My rabbit coop that my dad built is right underneath the tree and it gives them shade and it also gives the goats shade.

Sometimes in the evenings, when me and my sister are finished doing our goat chores, I climb the tree. It’s fun to climb it because it’s leaning sideways a little and when I get to the top, I can see the whole farm.

Fourth Grade: Elsa Mueller

My Special Tree

Nine years ago my special tree, a redbud, was planted in my backyard to celebrate the day I was born. My tree blooms pretty, purple flowers around May, a month after my birthday. When my tree blooms it is a late birthday present.

My redbud is special to me because it feels like my tree is part of my family. My sister has a magnolia tree and my mom has a crabapple tree. They are planted in my backyard. My sister’s tree was planted to celebrate the day that she was born too. My mom’s crabapple was planted to celebrate her. This spring we are planning on planting a tree for my baby sister to celebrate her birthday. I enjoy seeing the tree every day when I go outside.

My redbud tree holds some good memories. One was when I made a bird house and hung it up. I enjoyed watching birds fly around my tree and the bird house. I also like to watch the hummingbirds get the nectar from the flowers when my tree blooms. A funny memory is when my goat tried to eat the leaves off my tree. I couldn’t get her to stop. I finally had to pull her away on a leash.

My tree is very special to me and I like watching my tree grow as I grow. I wonder how tall it will be when I am nineteen.

Fifth Grade: Shea Bellezza

My favorite tree has always been the sugar maple tree in my backyard. I remember my sister climbed the tree all the way to the top. When she came down, she was covered in sap. When me and family play baseball, we also use it as a base. I always climb it and in the fall we rake up its beautiful leaves and jump in them.

Sixth Grade: Krish Dahal

We all



And wonder.

At everything that we see.

But what do we think,

When we notice a tree?

We think wise,

An old and wonderful tree.

We think smart,

An experienced and all knowing tree.

We think humble,

A large but quiet tree.

We think beautiful,

A colorful and vivid tree.

We think unique,

A distinct and individual tree.

We think calming,

A tranquil and peaceful tree.

We think powerful,

A strong and upstanding tree.

We think kind,

A helping and caring tree

But though all we think,

What do you think of a tree?

The years of COVID-19 have been long-lasting and tedious but art and nature have been very enjoyable and entertaining to me. One of the things I like to draw are trees. They are forgiving, pleasant and satisfying to draw. They remind me of Vermont and signs of peace and tranquility. It also connects me to my birthplace. I was born in Nepal and I remember very little about it, so trees and nature help me connect with my birth place. Nature is the thread that connects my life to not only Vermont, but to Nepal and other parts of my life.


Seventh Grade: Celeste Hines


In this time of change and disorder, the one thing that brings me back to reality is nature, and especially trees.  A human may live 80 years, but a tree could last very near to forever. We live in a world where we have bad days and good ones, but a tree just had bad years and good years. And for me, it makes my problems feel very insignificant and unnecessary when I compare. When I imagine a tree, I seen an anchor for all time, unchanging and steadfast. Trees have been here long before us and they will be here long after we are gone.

Eigth Grade: Taylor Tritt

On a river bank sat two sisters. They were relaxing under the gentle shade of the cherry blossom trees that lines the river. As the lay there, the younger sister told the older that the trees make her happy. “Why?” asked the older sister. And to that the younger replied, “because they’re beautiful, of course”

“That’s all?”

“Should there be any other reason?” The youngest was confused. She believed that the trees were beautiful and that was their only purpose. But the oldest knew more. She did know that they were beautiful, but she also knew that they were the lungs and heart of the earth, that they connected every living being no matter how different.

“They are beautiful, to that I agree” she told her sister. “But there is so much more.”

“What do you mean?” the youngest asked.

“Well to start, the trees give us oxygen to breathe. They also provide safe shelter for many small animals.” She pointed to a small robin’s nest in one of the cherry blossom trees. “But another thing the trees give us is a message.”

“A message? But trees can’t talk. Can they?” The youngest was intrigued.

“No, the trees can’t talk!” she giggled. “But they don’t need to. See, there are many types of trees from the jungle trees in South America to the pine trees of the north. There are the oak trees in the forests, the savannah trees in Africa, and the cherry blossom trees you see now!”

“Wow! So many trees!” her sister exclaimed.

“Yes! There are many trees in the world but they all have one thing in common. They all give us life.”

“Just like people!” the younger sister said.

“Exactly.. just like people. No matter the differences in culture, skin, gender, race, languor, or background. We are all human and we are all equal.” The oldest agreed.

“We are all equal” her sister echoed in awe.