The Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District (YSAQMD) recently put on their annual clean air calendar contest to boost students’ awareness of air pollution. Out of the 76 drawings entered, six of the selected entries were designed by Winters students to put in the calendar.
Starting back in 2011, the contest is open to students in the air district which includes northeastern Solano, Dixon, Rio Vista, Vacaville and Yolo County. Every year the contest features a different theme with 2022’s being: “You’re the key to a clean air future.”
“The contest is an outreach tool to get kids thinking about clean air and is open to students K-12. Winners receive an Amazon gift card, a certificate of achievement and their artwork is celebrated each year,” explained YSAQMD public outreach coordinator Karin Bloesh. “We’ll get artwork of kids walking to school or showing how trees help air quality, so it’s a well-rounded way to look at sustainability and their environment and what they can do to make it a better place to live.”
With COVID — hopefully — in the rearview mirror, Bloesh praised the students and teachers embracing not just the contest but their role in helping the environment.
“It’s been a tough two years, but it’s exciting to see teachers and students on their own are willing to get involved and that it means something to them,” said Bloesh. “It gives them an outlet to show what they can do for the environment. It also shows the kids their small actions can lead to big change.”
One of the contest winners championing clean air was Waggoner Elementary second grader, Benjamin Martinez.
“I drew people going on a bike ride and throwing trash into a trash can because you don’t want to hurt the earth, and so the earth doesn’t get dirty,” said Martinez who is an avid fisherman when he’s not clocked in at school. He also had advice for anybody who looking to help him protect the environment.
“Recycling is important so bottles don’t hurt the earth. I’d also tell people to throw away their trash,” Martinez said.
Another Winters contest winner is Shirley Rominger Intermediate School fifth grader, Jackelyn Cooper.
“I drew a cartoon version of the earth and painted a cloudy brown over it to symbolize its pollution,” said Cooper, who is the two-time winner of the calendar contest. “I just hate seeing polluted earth pictures, so I decided to do my painting like that.”
A lover of the outdoors, hiking and swimming, Cooper also encouraged people to recycle bottles and other products with the recycle logo.
In addition to Cooper and Martinez, the other Winters students whose entries were selected include Rominger students Elianna Duran and Nora Nolan; and Waggoner students Jovie Fisher and Clarissa Uribe.
For more information on air pollution and ways to aid the environment, www.ysaqmd.org is the website to visit. After all, anytime is a good time to start helping mother nature.