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Commissioners honor students who contributed art to NEST calendar

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The theme of the 2016 NEST calendar is 'Branch Out - Plant a Tree'

SARASOTA COUNTY – Sarasota County commissioners today honored 13 elementary school artists whose illustrations appear in the 2016 "Branch Out - Plant a Tree!" calendar, an effort of Sarasota County's Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST).

The goal of the calendar is to show how the community's youth interpret the environmental needs of the county, and how what we do in our homes and on our lands has a direct impact on the health of our beautiful bays and beaches.

"I think the calendar we produced this year is one of the best ever," said Rob Wright, who coordinates the calendar for the NEST program.

The popular annual calendar contest is open to any elementary student in any public or private Sarasota County school, including charter and elementary-age home-schooled students. Students whose artwork is selected for the calendar are honored each December by the Sarasota County Commission with a breakfast ceremony and board meeting recognition. Commissioners state that this is one of their favorite events of the year; they dedicate time to sign each winning student's calendar, and each commissioner asks the students to sign his or her artwork in the commissioner's copy of the calendar.

"Our future is bright with these kids," said Sarasota County Commission Chair Carolyn Mason. "We're proud as a commission, and our community should be proud as well."

Each winner's school will receive a supply of calendars, and copies of their winning artwork will be displayed throughout January 2016 in the Sarasota County School Board Administration offices. The calendars are also distributed to schools, libraries, homeowners associations, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, local parks and recreational centers, after Jan. 1.

To get a free copy of the 2016 "Branch Out - Plant a Tree!" calendar, or to learn more about the NEST program, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 and ask for Rob Wright.