Statewide Poster, Poetry and Essay Contest

2023 PPE HS LOGO.jpg

Dear Educators,

We invite your students to participate in the first annual Poster, Poetry, and Essay Contest. The theme of the 2023 event is Environmental Justice: A Healthy Community for All – Uplifting Community Voices! focusing on understanding the need for environmental justice and why voices from overburdened communities (minority, low-income, tribal, or indigenous populations or geographic locations in the US that potentially experience disproportionate environmental harms and risks) are vital to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

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

The top entries will be displayed on the Illinois EPA website providing recognition for the winning entries as well as promoting the program. The top three winners will receive monetary gift cards in both, poster/poetry and essay, categories.

To participate in the contest, you will need the participation packet that contains the rules and necessary forms that need to be filled out. Please see the timetable below and note important dates and deadlines.

Credit: Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire: and

Contest Materials:

Participation Packet


Exhibit timetable is as follows:

January 2023
Learn about Environmental Justice, what it means, why supporting marginalized groups creates a healthy environment for everyone, and how valuing all voices in a diverse range of communities, especially those in overburdened communities, fosters healthy environments for all.

January 17-20
Students create posters or written works relating to the theme focus: Environmental Justice: A Healthy Environment for All - Uplifting Community Voices!

January 23-27
If applicable, teachers display posters, poems and essays at their school. Students and faculty vote to select four posters/poems and four essay entries to submit to the Illinois EPA for further judging.

February 1
Students submit their entry, or teachers submit up to eight entries per school to the Illinois EPA for judging.  Entries must be submitted electronically by February 1, 2023.

February 2023

April 2023
Winners notified

Informational resources can be found on the following websites:

All entries become the property of the Illinois EPA.

If you have any questions, please contact:  Kristi Morris, Environmental Education Coordinator, at: