Through October 31, the D&R Greenway Land Trust displays county winners of Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey’s 16th annual juried exhibition of art and essays on our state’s threatened and endangered species. Spirited versions of remarkable creatures, –from Gloucester County’s vivid bog turtle to Passaic County’s Kennedy’s Emerald Dragon (dragonfly) to Mercer’s irresistible Blue-Spotted Salamander–, await visitors, from 9:30 to 5 p.m. each weekday.
The students became virtual wildlife biologists, through intensive research and unique art for this statewide educational contest. Open to all fifth-graders, this dramatic display of winners launches the fall season of D&R Greenway’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery each Labor Day. This gallery keeps alive the memory of Olivia Kuenne, to whom nature and art were paramount in her young life. President and CEO, Linda Mead reminds that “We display exceptional student art throughout each year, conveying the urgency of protecting nature to the preservationists of tomorrow.” Submitted art is judged by artists; essays by scientists. Students must win in both categories. Each county’s winning essay is displayed for reading in the exhibit. This project is sponsored by PSEG, NJEA, GAF, Atlantic City Electric, Church & Dwight and ShopRite. The contest attracted over 2,800 entries. Since 2003, over 15,000 New Jersey children entered the Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest. www.ConserveWildlifeNJ.org/Education/Edge/.
Conserve Wildlife Foundation Executive Director David Wheeler urges that we realize that “These talented children poured their hearts into the Species on the Edge contest, creating vibrant artwork and passionate essays about these rare wildlife species. We are inspired to connect the next generation of New Jersey conservation leaders with their natural world. Both their art and essays illustrate nature’s wonders – and reveal many of the challenges we must overcome to help vulnerable wildlife survive in our densely populated state.”
The Olivia Rainbow Gallery is in the Johnson Education Center, in Robert Wood Johnson’s former working barn. One Preservation Place, off Rosedale Road, (above Johnson Park School) www.drgreenway.org 609 924-4646
Students were given the list of New Jersey’s more than eighty endangered and threatened species. Each composes an essay on factors contributing to the animal’s endangered situation, and suggestions on how to protect it. Frequently, the essays are written in the first person – each student having effectively ‘become’ the creature.
Working on the Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest encourages students to learn about local environmental issues. All are encouraged to express their concerns for the world around them; think creatively about ways to improve it; and consider how their own actions impact the natural world.