In addition to passing on traditional outdoors activities to youngsters, instilling in them an appreciation of the outdoors is just as important.

For that reason, the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs and the Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation – organizations with a longstanding history of promoting, preserving, and protecting Pennsylvania's outdoors heritage of hunting, trapping, fishing, boating, shooting and the resources that provide the many wondrous opportunities for such – have adopted the theme "Autumn in the Pennsylvania Outdoors" in photographs and artwork for the 2012 PFSC and PWF Junior Conservation Contests.

To encourage creative expression and an appreciation and understanding of the outdoors world, the PFSC and PWF contests once again are open to students in grades 4-12 who live in Pennsylvania. Entries will compete against others in the same age group, and youngsters can attend public or private schools or be home schooled.

For the poster and photo contest, entrants must include on separate paper, taped to the back of the poster or photo, a one-paragraph explanation of why autumn is a special time to enjoy the outdoors in Pennsylvania. Also on the back of the posters – which must be on 11x17-inch poster board with the "Autumn in the Pennsylvania Outdoors" on the front must be the student's name, address, age, grade, school and school district, art instructor's name, the student's county and a signed statement that the poster is the student's original work.

Artwork illustrating the theme, with a focus on Pennsylvania wildlife, can be done in various art materials. Watercolor, oil or acrylic paints, crayons or well-fixed chalk are acceptable.

Included with the poster should be a brief explanation of the entrant's outdoors experience. Entries will be separated into grade groups: 4 to 6; 7 to 9; and 10 to 12; a $75 first-place prize will be awarded in each grade group, and other cash prizes will be presented for second- and third-place entries.

Photographs entered must be 8x10-inch color or black-and-white prints and be un-mounted and unframed. All submissions must be original photographs, not photocopies or digital enhanced entries, and no retouching or electronic enhancement is permitted.

Photographs must have been taken in Pennsylvania during the past year by the entrant, and more than one entry may be submitted, but only one winning entry per person will be given. Photos will be judged by their composition, technical skills the photo demonstrates and how the photo illustrates the contest theme.

Age groups and prizes will be the same as the poster contest, and winner will be announced at the PFSC's spring convention banquet, March 24, in Scranton. Winning entries will be displayed at the convention and used throughout the year on the PFSC website and other promotional items.

For a complete PFSC Art Poster/Photo Contest submission packet, contact the PFSC office, 2426 North Second St., Harrisburg 17110, call 717-232-3480 or e-mail info@pfsc.org. Entries should be mailed to the same address.

Entries in the poster and photo contests must be submitted by February 12 and become the property of PWF and PFSC and may be reproduced or published in print media or electronically without additional compensation. Winning entries may also be displayed at educational centers, and for a copy of the winners list, send a request with a self-addressed stamped envelope to the PFSC office at the above address.