National Youth Poster Contest is back!

“Go Colored Agates!
In the 2016 contest (with a theme of “Amazing Agates”), then second-grader Kristina Kazuraite entered “Go Colored Agates!” (Summit Lapidary Club)

By Jim Brace-Thompson

Budding young artists
Budding young artists from across the country are encouraged to enter the 2021 National Youth Poster Contest. (Jim Brace-Thompson)

Calling all artists! After a bit of a hiatus, the National Youth Poster Contest is back, thanks to the North Lakes Academy Rockhounds of Minnesota. The contest is open to children in first through eighth grade. The theme is “Rockin’ Around the USA.”

Past contest themes have included Minerals of the World, My Favorite Fossil, Birthstones, and Official State Gems. The contest went dormant in 2017 but is back and ready to recognize junior rockhound artists’ creativity and knowledge.

Anyone wishing to participate needs to pick a rock or mineral found in the USA that they are passionate about, create a poster, and include a brief explanation of why they like that particular rock or mineral. Alternatively, participants can pick a location in the USA where they love to go rock collecting and craft a poster around that, accompanying it with a brief write-up about the location, what they have found there, and why others should go there, too.

“Crazy Condor Agate” postet
Another entry for the 2016 “Amazing Agates” contest was created by then fourth-grader Clodagh Sampim, who submitted this colorful poster titled “Crazy Condor Agate.” (Summit Lapidary Club)

All entries must be on paper measuring 12 by 18 inches with the child’s name, address (including email address and phone number), and school grade on the back. A title should also appear on the front. Artwork can be done in pen, ink, crayon, magic marker, paint, print, photography, or a similar artist’s medium, but no three-dimensional posters will be accepted. Be sure to accompany the poster with the background information requested above.

Finally, posters will not be returned, as all entries become the property of North Lakes Academy Rockhounds and its affiliated regional and national federations.

Posters will be judged by grade level, with ribbons and prizes awarded for first through fifth place in each grade. Overall champion awards also will be given. Judges will award points as follows: 30 for originality and artistry; 10 for the title (including relevance to the theme, design, spelling, grammar); and 20 for background information, facts, and details provided in the required write-up.

Send posters and accompanying write-ups to Michelle Cauley, c/o North Lakes Academy Rockhounds, 4576 232nd Street North, Forest Lake, Minnesota 55025. Michelle is picking up this effort from David Rich, who originated and ran such a contest for many years with the Summit Lapidary Club of Ohio.

Entries must be postmarked by May 1, 2021. Posters postmarked after this deadline will not be accepted. Direct any questions to Michelle at

About: North Lakes Academy Rockhounds is a juniors-only club in Forest Lake, Minnesota. The group is a new (2020) member club of the Midwest Federation of Mineralogical and Geological Societies (, which is part of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies (

Author: Jim Brace-Thompson

JimBraceThompson Jim began and oversees the AFMS Badge Program for kids, has been inducted into the National Rockhound & Lapidary Hall of Fame within their Education Category, and is the president-elect for the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies.
Contact him at


Magazine subscription

If you enjoyed what you’ve read here we invite you to consider signing up for the FREE Rock & Gem weekly newsletter. Learn more>>>

In addition, we invite you to consider subscribing to Rock & Gem magazine. The cost for a one-year U.S. subscription (12 issues) is $29.95. Learn more >>>


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here