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National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

National Fossil Day 2013: Art and Photography Contest

"Your nomination for our National Fossil"

NFD Sketch
Submit your National Fossil Day artwork or photograph to the 2013 contest. (Sketch by Tom Conant for NPS.)

About the Contest

The National Fossil Day™ partners are sponsoring an art and photography contest to celebrate the fourth annual National Fossil Day (Wednesday, October 16, 2013). The theme for this contest is "Your nomination for our National Fossil".

The 2013 art / photo contest will help to kick-off a nationwide election to determine what fossil might best represent the United States as our "National Fossil".

Six top candidate fossils will be selected from the 2013 art / photo contest submissions. Each of these six candidate fossils will be announced on National Fossil Day 2013.

The six candidate fossils will move forward as part of a nationwide vote by school children across the US during 2014. The winner of the National Fossil election will be announced on National Fossil Day 2014! More information about the 2013 National Fossil election will be available in January 2013.

Click here to download the art contest entry form.

Contest Guidelines

Who can enter?

The contest is open to any U.S. resident of any age. Entries will be judged by a panel consisting of National Fossil Day partners and paleontologists.

What should my artwork include?

Your artwork should focus on the contest theme "Your nomination for our National Fossil".

There are thousands and thousands of different incredible fossils found across America. Each tells a story about the place they were found. Most states have selected official state fossils; find yours here: Official State Fossils. But we are looking for a fossil that speaks to all Americans and says something about the fantastic fossils of the United States.

Could it be a dinosaur? A snail? A plant? A trilobite? A mammal? A trace fossil?

What American fossil speaks to you and would you nominate to be our National Fossil?

This contest is about sharing your opinion about what fossil that you think are exceptionally cool, important, and would make a good National Fossil for the United States.

The artwork can be in the form of a sketch, painting, watercolor, photograph (black/white or color), or computer-generated image. All artwork must be 2D (two dimensional) and flat.

Be sure to include, either on the artwork or on your submission form, a sentence or two explaining why you think the fossil you nominate would be a good National Fossil.

Questions to help you get started...

  • What is your favorite fossil?
  • Does your state have an official state fossil?
  • Are there any fossils your hometown, state, or region, are famous for?
  • Are there any fossils found only in the US?
  • What fossil do you think would make a good National Fossil? Why?


How large should the artwork be?

All artwork should be able to fit inside a 13"x 17" envelope or smaller, or if submitting a digital photograph, the image should be no larger than 2 Mb.

What do I need to submit?

A valid submission will contain the following information:

  1. An original copy of the artwork. Each piece must be original, authentic, unpublished, the sole property of the entrant, and not previously submitted in any other contest. Make sure to include, either on the artwork or on your submission form, a sentence or two explaining why you think the fossil you nominate would be a good National Fossil.
  2. Your personal information, printed on either the back of your artwork or on a separate sheet attached to your artwork:

    First and last name (as it appears on your entry form)
    Mailing address
    Phone number
    E-mail address

  3. A completed and signed entry form. Print out the entry form here and send it to us when you send your artwork. Entries cannot be accepted without a signed entry form (if under 18, a parent, guardian, or teacher must sign).
  4. Optional - If you would like to submit a digital photograph, send your personal information, along with your attached photo to National_Fossil_Day@nps.gov with the subject line: NFD 2013 PHOTO CONTEST. You must also mail in a signed entry form.
  5. All mailed entry forms must be sent to:

    National Fossil Day 2013 Art Contest
    American Geosciences Institute
    4220 King Street
    Alexandria, VA 22302-1502

If you have any problems or questions regarding the art contest, please contact the National Fossil Day staff at National_Fossil_Day@nps.gov.

When is the deadline?

All submissions must be postmarked by 5 p.m. EST, Friday, October 4th, 2013. Entries postmarked later will not be eligible. Entries cannot be returned. American Geosciences Institute cannot confirm receipt of entries.

How will the artwork be judged?

The artwork will be judged by a panel on originality, creativity, quality and, most importantly, relevance to the topic. Submissions will be separated into and judged based upon the following age groups:

  • 8 years old or younger
  • 9 to 13 years old
  • 14 to 18 years old
  • 19 years old or above

Winning Art and Photographs?

The winning artworks and photographs for each category, and the 6 entries chosen to be National Fossil Candidates, will appear on the National Fossil Day website starting on or after October 16th, 2013. Check the National Fossil Day website to see if your work has been selected! To see last year's winners, click here.

If you have any problems or questions regarding the art contest, please contact the National Fossil Day staff at National_Fossil_Day@nps.gov. We look forward to your feedback!

Disclaimer: By submitting an entry, the entrant agrees to allow the National Park Service to use his or her name to post on the NPS's National Fossil Day Web site, without compensation unless prohibited. All entries and all rights of ownership in and to the entries, including all rights to use, reproduce, publish, modify, edit, and distribute the same will become the exclusive property of NPS and will not be returned. NPS reserves the right to edit, modify, copyright, publish, use, and reproduce any and all entries without further compensation. The National Park Service, its agents and contractor, are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, incomplete, or postage-due entries. Contest void where prohibited or restricted by law.


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Last updated: April 3, 2013