Phoenix student’s art published in national calendar

Valadez's artwork in the calendar

Click to enlarge

Phoenix Middle School seventh grader Samantha Valadez is now a nationally published artist.

She was one of 24 student artists to have their artwork selected for the 2009 Robert Bateman Get to Know contest.

Valadez’s painting of a woodpecker won an honorable mention award in the contest, which had more than 4,900 entries nationwide. Her artwork is now published in the 2011 Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest Calendar and on the organization’s website, It appears in the month of January.

Valadez created her painting with tempera paints. The project was part of an animal artwork unit Phoenix Middle School art teacher Hugh Petersen does as part of his curriculum.

Samantha Valadez

Samantha Valadez

Petersen had students use the Internet to research animals native to Wisconsin, and then paint pictures from photos they found.

“Samantha’s painting was one of the top paintings of this sixth grade art project,” Petersen said. “What caught my eye was not only her main subject but, the creativity in texturing in the tree.”

Petersen submitted Valadez’s piece last school year along with several other student works from Phoenix Middle School.

The contest encourages student artists to “Connect, Create and Celebrate,” and get to know the “wild neighbors” around them in the outdoors.

The contest has partners with the Get to Know Society, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Wildlife Federation, the Children and Nature Network and others.

Samantha Valadez artwork

Click to enlarge

About the Get to Know Program

The Robert Bateman Get to Know Program has been inspiring connections between children and nature in the outdoors for over a decade.

Acclaimed artist and naturalist Robert Bateman believes that having students learn local species’ names and characteristics will create increased awareness and understanding of wildlife, which will in turn instill increased empathy for the well-being of our wild neighbors. In short, he wants to facilitate young people connecting with nature because this is an important first step towards raising a generation who will care for the Earth’s well-being.

Providing young people with opportunities to spend more time outdoors is a priority of the Get to Know Program. This is particularly important in this day and age, as children continue to abandon outdoor experiences for those they can participate in from within the home. This detachment from nature, and resulting sedentary lifestyle, can have a negative effect on the development of children.

The theme of the Get to Know Program is “Connect. Create. Celebrate.” These words articulate our mission to foster connections to nature through the creative arts – and to celebrate the fantastic work being done by youth in response to the environment and the need to understand and value nature.

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