2023 Student Poster Contest

The 2023 contest is now closed. Results were announced on June 30th. Thank you to all of the student artists who entered!

July has been Lakes Appreciation Month for the past 25 years. This spring, we are inviting elementary, middle, and high school students to submit posters reflecting on how important lakes are to all of us. Submitted artwork will be a big part of NALMS’ celebrations through July across North America. Show us your love for lakes by sending us your artwork!

Download DIGTAL-FRIENDLY contest flyer    Download PRINTABLE contest flyer

Contest Instructions/Rules:

  • All grades K – 12th welcome to participate
    • Posters will be judged by grade range with a winner in each category: elementary (grades K-4), middle (grades 5-8), and high school (9-12).
  • Poster submissions must be submitted electronically to lakesappreciation@nalms.org with the subject line “2023 LAM Poster Contest.”
  • The following high-quality digital file formats will be accepted: JPEG, PNG, PDF, InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. If you have any questions about suitable formats, please contact us at lakesappreciation@nalms.org. Resolution should be 300 dpi. Fonts should be embedded or provided separately; otherwise, fonts will be substituted.
  • Although not required, please consider including a title and brief description (2-3 sentences maximum) along with your poster. Your poster will not be judged on this description.
  • Posters should follow our open theme: “Who Are Your Waters?”
    • This theme is inspired by the Māori, or the Indigenous peoples of New Zealand. Water, or wai, meant and still means everything to the Māori and is honored through language, stories, songs, artwork, histories, and more.
    • What does this theme mean to you? Find your inspiration from your own story! What is your favorite lake? What is your best memory at that lake? What does water mean to your community – your family, friends, and classmates? Who are your waters?
  • Check out the fun lake facts and resources below for some ideas on what to include in your poster!
  • Each entry must include the following information (or include an entry form):
    • Student’s name
    • Grade
    • Student’s contact info (email and mailing address)
    • School/Organization name
    • School/Organization contact info (email and mailing address)
  • Submission deadline is Thursday, June 15th by 11:59 pm Pacific Time. We will not accept submissions after this date.
  • The three winners (one from each grade range) will be notified via email by Friday, June 30th. All participants will be notified of the winners by this same date.
  • By submitting artwork, contest participants agree to have their artwork displayed on the NALMS website, social media platforms, and future digital and print marketing. Artwork may be printed (and possibly sold, with proceeds supporting NALMS non-profit programs) on items such as posters, postcards, stickers, or magnets. The artist’s name and school will always be included on printed items.

Judging Criteria:

The North American Lake Management Society has set the following criteria for poster submissions.

  1. Posters should reflect the values of Lakes Appreciation Month – that freshwater resources, such as lakes and reservoirs, are vital to all life and it should not be taken for granted.
  2. Posters should follow our open theme: “Who Are Your Waters?”
  3. Posters should display original and creative ideas.
  4. Posters should contain proper spelling and grammar.
  5. Students may use any variety of media, keeping in mind that submissions are required to be in a digital format.
  6. Students may not work in pairs or groups.
  7. One poster submission per student is allowed.
  8. Submissions must follow the process detailed above and be received by the deadline of Thursday, June 15th to avoid disqualification.
  9. Posters will be judged by NALMS volunteers who serve on the Lakes Appreciation Month program committee.


  • $250 cash prize awarded to the winning student artist’s school or organization* (three cash prizes total / one student winner in each grade range)
    • We encourage schools or organizations to utilize these funds for STEM or lake ecology curriculum/materials, activities, and/or field trips
    • *Organizations may include 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, other youth groups, etc.
  • $50 cash prize awarded to the student artist (three cash prizes total / one student winner in each grade range)
  • All submissions will be featured on the NALMS Lakes Appreciation Month webpage in a photo slideshow; winning submissions will be featured on the homepage!
  • All submissions will be featured on NALMS social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Help us spread the word:

  • Through our downloadable, printable handout – download your copy!
  • Through social media! Please use the hashtags: #LakesAppreciation, #LAMPosterContest.

Scroll through past submissions for inspiration!

  • 2008 winning poster
  • 2008 second place
  • 2002 winner
  • 2010 winner
  • 2010 runner-up
  • 2010 runner-up

Lake Facts and Resources:

1. There are 117 million lakes on Earth. About 90 million of these are smaller than two football fields in size.

2. There are lakes on all seven continents, and they can be found in all kinds of climates and environments.

3. Not including oceans, lakes contain about 90% of the surface water on Earth.

4. Added all together, the shorelines of all the world’s lakes roughly equal 250 times the length of the equator.

5. The study of inland water bodies is called limnology.

6. The deepest and oldest lake on Earth is Lake Baikal in Russia at 5,387 feet and over 25 million years old.

7. The deepest lake in the United States is Crater Lake at 1,949 feet.

8. The deepest lake in North America is Great Slave Lake (Canada) at 2,014 feet.

9. The Dead Sea in Israel is the world’s lowest lake at 1,371 feet below sea level.

10. The Great Lakes, located on the border of the United States and Canada, include five lakes: Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario, and Superior.

11. Together, the Great Lakes contain around 21% of the world’s freshwater supply.

12. Lake Superior holds more water than all the other Great Lakes combined.

13. Lakes are used by people for drinking water, to provide electricity, and for fun activities like swimming, boating, and fishing.

14. Man-made lakes are called reservoirs. They are often used as sources of hydroelectric power, which can provide electricity to homes and businesses.

15. Many lakes are home to diverse and rare plant and animal species.

16. Dry lake beds are awesome places to hunt for fossils!

17. A lake usually contains freshwater, but some can be saltwater.

18. The largest saltwater lake in the United States is Utah’s Great Salt Lake. It is even saltier than the ocean!

19. In most lakes, the water temperatures separate into distinct layers. The hot sun warms the top layers, while the depths remain chilly.

20. Water is heaviest at 3.98 degrees Celsius; anything warmer or colder floats.

21. July is Lakes Appreciation Month, a time when people can give back to their favorite lake by cleaning up the shoreline or sharing their knowledge with the public.

NALMS provided these fun lake facts to our partner, Earth Science Laboratories, for their amazing BINGO sheet of summer activities and lake facts!

Download the BINGO sheet here.