Poster Contest to Challenge Kids to Find the Wonders Living Beneath our Feet

Students encouraged to submit entries by Oct. 27

2024 Conservation Poster Contest, The Living Soil, with registration deadlines and

The Wake County Soil and Water Conservation team is hoping to inspire 4th and 5th grade students to discover the fascinating world living underground and enter a statewide poster contest to earn cash prizes. “The Living Soil” contest is part of an annual competition offering young people a chance to showcase their talents, learn about conservation and possibly become a winner at regional and state levels.

"This year's theme challenges students to learn that it may just look like dirt, but soil is a living ecosystem, filled with life-giving and life-sustaining processes and critters," said Donald Mial, Wake County Commissioner. "A single teaspoon of healthy soil contains more living microorganisms than all the people on our planet. Our students will learn how we are connected to the soil and how much we depend on healthy soil for our food and clean water.”

Students will illustrate their understanding of soil organisms by selecting their favorite, such as worms, bacteria, fungi, roly-polies, ants, millipedes, or dung beetles and create an illustration explaining how these organisms are adapted to living underground and their role in the soil ecosystem.

Additionally, students can research the latest innovative practices that enhance the health of soil. Examples of these environmentally friendly methods include composting or cover cropping, which involves planting rye, clover or grasses to help reduce erosion, cut back on weeds and promote healthy soil structure.

Soil specialists and conservationists will be judging the posters on their scientific content and artistic originality. First place posters in each grade will advance to the regional competition and those winners go on to the state competition.

"The poster contest was something I participated in as a student, and what I learned through this contest was foundational to my understanding of the importance of soil and water conservation," said Beth Pugh Farrell, Wake Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor. "Equally important is for students to understand that we all have a role and responsibility to treat soil as a precious resource. It is essential that we appreciate and conserve it for generations to come."

In previous contests, Wake County students have gone on to win big at the county, regional and state levels. Last year's poster winner, Medha Balaji from Green Hope Elementary in Cary, won a total of $250 for her winning "Water: The Cycle of Life" poster. The judges were impressed by Medha's portrayal of two towns—one that neglected best management practices leading to polluted stormwater runoff, and another that utilized green plants as effective management practices to filter and clean the runoff, safeguarding drinking water and aquatic habitats.

The deadline for poster entries is Friday, October 27, 2023. Teachers can register their classes at Participating schools will receive a study guide, rubric and other resources providing science content and art tips.

The Conservation Poster Contest is sponsored by Wake Soil and Water Conservation District and Novozymes North America, Inc., a global biotechnology company based in North Carolina.

For more information, to register for the contest or to become a sponsor, contact Conservation Specialist Winifred Dorer at 919-250-1095 or

Press Release