GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — USAG Bavaria Environmental Division is hosting a nature contest to welcome the messengers of spring – local plants and animals whose appearance signals the coming of warmer weather and longer days.


From February 15 to May 17, children ages three to 12 can participate in the Experience Spring contest, based on Germany’s Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union’s (NABU) annual Erlebter Frühling contest.


This year’s signs of spring are the European hedgehog, tawny owl, banded snail and goat willow — all chosen by NABU to be the messengers of spring for 2017.


The contest aims to encourage kids to explore the outdoors, discover these plant and animal species and show their newly found expertise and experiences through creative projects.


Families, school classes and youth organizations are invited to take part in the contest.


“We encourage children to turn discovering the signs of spring into a creative adventure and show us how they were inspired by them. Creativity knows no limits – the participant can lead a nature walk, design a poster, create their own experiment, become a nature photographer, make a movie or keep an exploration journal” said contest organizer, Christine Fox.


Parents, scout leaders and teachers are encouraged to share in this exciting experience by assisting their children with activities and contest submissions.


“We hope this opportunity will connect children with native wildlife and help them foster an appreciation for these German species.”


Prizes will be awarded on June 1 with all participants receiving an appreciation gift. Last year, participants received a magnifying insect box and winners received other prizes, such as bird feeders and local nature guides.


In addition to participating in the garrison-wide Experience Spring contest, your child or class can also take part in NABU’s nature contest.


“We would like to show American support of NABU’s Erlebter Frühling contest,” said Fox. “If you want to take part in it, please mark the appropriate box on your entry form and we will mail your entry to NABU on your behalf.”


To enter, fill out the contest entry form, assemble your activities and submit your entry to the Environmental Division at Tower Barracks, Bldg. 389, by May 17, 2017. You can drop off submissions or email them to


For fact sheets about each spring messenger, as well as entry forms and additional contest information, visit the Environmental Division webpage or the Environmental Division Facebook page. If you have questions, call 475-8999, CIV 09641-83-8999.


Categories: Environmental News