Craig teen wins Yampa Valley Crane Festival poster contest
Competing against almost two-dozen entries from across the Yampa Valley and beyond, Valarie Dilldine of Craig won the first-ever Yampa Valley Crane Festival poster contest put on by the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition.
Valarie is 14 years old. Her poster features a collage of clippings put together to depict a sandhill crane wading through a shallow pond.
Nancy Merrill, president of the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition, said there were a few aspects of Valarie’s work that really set it apart including the teen’s wonderful use of color and artistic ability, and the way she clearly included the festival information.
“Her way of doing it was really clear, so it made the information about the festival stand out, and her crane was really unique,” Merrill said. “It looked like she did a collage with newspaper print in some way, so it really stood out, and the color was just amazing.”
Valarie will be an incoming freshman at Moffat County High School this fall, and she loves birds, having observed cranes in and around the Craig area over the years.
Overall, Merill said the poster contest is a new effort by the coalition as it tries to reach out to an age group that it hasn’t always wrapped into the annual crane festival. Merrill said they’ve done well with outreach efforts in the elementary and high school age groups, and festival organizers wanted to create the poster contest to target students who are in the middle school age range.
“We just think that getting kids and youngsters involved with cranes and nature is the key to keeping our environment healthy and keeping the cranes around,” Merrill said. “They are our future.”
According to contest organizers, Valarie researched cranes to learn more about about the birds before creating her winning poster.
Valarie’s poster, along with the posters of all the other contest participants, will be displayed at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs throughout the festival.
Additionally, Valarie will receive a $100 cash prize, and her poster will be displayed throughout the Yampa Valley and on CCCC’s website and social media prior to the 11th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival set for Sept. 1-4.
The Yampa Valley Crane Festival Poster Contest was initiated this year as a way to encourage young people to learn about sandhill cranes and to engage in the arts. Children ages 10-15 were invited enter one or more poster designs promoting the Yampa Valley Crane Festival.
The coalition received many wonderful entries from both within and outside the Yampa Valley. A panel of expert judges picked Valarie’s poster as the first-place winner.
The 11th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival is set to bring a host of events to Craig, Steamboat Springs and Hayden next month.
The festival will offer crane, bird and nature activities, including guided crane viewing and bird walks, a demonstration with live raptors, bird art exhibits, workshops, documentary films and expert speakers.
One upcoming event Merrill is telling people to look out for is a presentation from Chris Wood, the director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology eBird program.
During his time, Wood will talk about the power behind the eBird program, and how observations from everyday birdwatchers can empower science and conservation across the world.
Merrill noted that the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is one of the most prestigious birding organizations in the country. The complete festival schedule is available at ColoradoCranes.org/festival-schedule/,
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