Statewide Poster and Poetry/Prose Exhibit


Dear Fifth/Sixth Grade Educators,


We invite your students to participate in the annual Poster, Poetry and Prose Contest. The theme of the 2020 event is Algae: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly... How Can You Keep Your Local Pond Healthy?  focusing on understanding how algae can affect waterbodies (good and bad), and learning how to prevent nonpoint source pollution, including nutrient runoff, to maintain healthy water ecosystems. 

We believe that the creation of posters and written works gives your students an opportunity to express and share, on a deeper and more personal level, what they have learned. The student exhibit also draws attention to environmental issues.


We recommend that you have a school exhibit of your students' works. Ask students and faculty to vote for their favorite entries. Then send the Illinois EPA the top four posters and top four poetry/prose entries (representing the school) for inclusion in the statewide exhibit. The works will be on display at the Illinois EPA April 20 through May 13.


Students whose works have been chosen for the exhibit, together with their parents and teachers, will be invited to an awards reception in Springfield. Finalists will receive recognition and twelve students (six in each category) will have their works displayed as top award winners.  


The top twelve entries also will be displayed on the Illinois EPA website providing additional recognition for the winning entries as well as promoting the program.


To participate in the poster and poetry/prose contest you will need the participation packet, which contains the rules and necessary forms. Please read the timetable below and note important dates and deadlines.

Contest Materials:
Participation Packet

Exhibit timetable is as follows:

January 2020
Educators incorporate the Environmental Pathways: Why is the Pond Green? unit into their classroom curricula (available free online at: Students learn how algae can be good and bad in the aquatic environment and why it is important to reduce nonpoint source pollution in our waterways to prevent the bad. 
January 13 - 24
Students create posters or written works relating to the theme focus.
January 27 - 31
Teachers display posters and poems/prose at their school. Students and faculty vote to select four posters and four written entries to submit to the Illinois EPA for further judging.
February 3
Teacher/school sends four posters and/or four poems/prose to the Illinois EPA; a total of eight entries per school. Entries must be postmarked before or on February 3, 2020. 
February 25
Illinois EPA staff selects the top posters and written works for exhibition.
February 26
A panel of judges (from local organizations) selects the top twelve entries.
April 18, 2020 - Canceled
Reception and awards ceremony held in Springfield.
April 20 - May 13 Canceled
Top posters, poems and prose on exhibit at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Springfield.

Informational resources can be found on the following web sites:

All entries become the property of the Illinois EPA. If you have any questions, please contact Kristi Morris at (217) 558-7198.

Other Environmental Education Resources

Environmental Pathways