In an effort to generate an interest in Mississippi's coastal resources and promote the awareness of their value, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is holding its 11th annual student art contest for third- through sixth-graders in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties.

Winning entries will be featured in the DMR's 2012 Marine Information Calendar, and the original artwork will be on public display.

The theme of the contest is "Preserving and Enjoying Mississippi's Coastal Resources."

Students may choose from among the following topics, which will be featured in these months:
• January: estuaries/wetland habitats (pitcher plant bogs, pine savannas, great blue herons, snowy egrets, etc.)
• February: marinas, boats docked in harbor (sailboats, sport-fishing boats, etc.)
• March: saltwater fishing/deep-sea fishing, sharks!
• April: boat and water safety (people boating or on jet skis wearing lifejackets)
• May: people fishing/floundering near Deer Island or enjoying the island recreationally
• June: shrimp boats, Blessing of the Fleet, shrimp in general
• July: reeling in a record-breaking saltwater fish (red snapper, cobia, shark, etc.), offshore artificial reefs
• August: blue crabs, crabbing with drop nets
• September: kids fishing off piers, wade-fishing, or cast netting
• October:  Mississippi Coastal Cleanup (people cleaning beaches or wildlife entangled in debris such as birds in fishing line, sea turtles and six-pack ring)
• November: Schooners, oyster tongers, oysters in general
• December: Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area (coastal landmarks such as the Biloxi Lighthouse, Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island or the landing of D'Iberville)

Entry size is 8 1/2 inches x 11 inches horizontal on paper. Any medium may be used (colored pencil, acrylics, charcoal, pastels, collage, water color, etc.).

Please include on the BACK of the artwork, the month selected, artist's name (spelled correctly and legibly), age, grade and school name (if applicable).

MDMR may request you send a photo of the student for news releases if your student's artwork is selected.

Teachers should submit all student entries in one package to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, c/o Public Affairs, 1141 Bayview Ave., Biloxi, MS 39530.

Include teacher's name, phone number and e-mail address in package.

Deadline for entry is 5 p.m. on Oct. 21.

For more information about the contest, contact Jennifer Leirer at (228) 374-5000.