Monterey Bay Air Resources District and Valley Women’s Club 2nd Annual Art Contest on Air Quality


An excited crowd of parents and children turned out at the San Lorenzo Valley School Board meeting on Wednesday, October 19th to hear the announcement of the winners of the Second Annual Art Contest sponsored by the Monterey Bay Air Resources District and Valley Women’s Club. The artwork of all the winners was on display along with their winning ribbons. The creativity and talent of the children was amazing!

The Art Contest provided San Lorenzo Valley children the chance to be “creative” while helping bring awareness to the San Lorenzo Valley air quality issues created largely by wood burning smoke from heating during the winter.

San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Laurie Bruton stated: “We are always happy to show off the talents of our students, particularly when it serves our community of San Lorenzo Valley”.  “All of our schools stress community services,” said Dr. Bruton. “Joining students’ artistic ability and their desire to improve conditions in the community is a perfect match for the art contest.”

The art contest is an idea that was born from citizen input which was solicited and organized by Supervisor Bruce McPherson to help solve the critical air quality issues our community faces.  “The air quality issue in San Lorenzo Valley can be addressed – and solved – by our local community. That solution will require an educational process and having our creative students show us how to do that through their artwork will be an important part of our success,” McPherson said.

The Valley Women’s Club Environmental Committee is also supporting the art contest. “We are excited to support this effort to help reduce dangerous air pollution levels in the SLV through this contest that also encourages creative expression of ideas” stated Chairperson Nancy Macy

School District Superintendent Dr. Laurie Bruton, Supervisor Bruce McPherson, and David Frisbey, Planning and Air Monitoring Manager for the Monterey Bay Air Resources District presented the awards to the students in front of the School Board.

The Grand Prize winner was Sarah Jane Murphy, 9th Grade at SLV High School.

The other prize winners were:

Grades 9-12: First: Lori Claes (9th Grade); Second: Mira Wichelmann (9th Grade)

Grades 7-8:; First: Griffin Hardisty (8th Grade)

Grades 4-6: First: Ashli Trageseb (6th Grade); Second: Simone Tanner (4th Grade); Third Ella Grace Still (5th Grade); Honorable Mention): Ari Robin (4th Grade)

Grades K-3: First: Avery Armstrong (3rd Grade); Second: Lila Robins, (K); Third: Shelly Thomas (1st Grade)

The winning artwork will be displayed in the near future at the County Building, 701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz.

The message of this wonderful artwork is a reminder to all residents that wood burning stoves contribute to serious health and air pollution issues in the San Lorenzo Valley.  This is especially severe on our upcoming winter days when the San Lorenzo Valley experiences low clouds and low winds creating an “inversion” that traps smoke in our air.  During these days residents are strongly encouraged to “spare the air” and avoid wood stoves and utilize other sources of clean heat.