Art contest moves young artists to conservationists


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Charlotte Corbeil, center back, stands with some of last year’s Charlie Corbeil Conservation Awards youth arts contest winners. Photo by Linda Wiggins

For Viera resident Charlotte Corbeil, art and nature are one and the same. So it made perfect sense to honor the memory of her husband, Charlie, with $1,000 in prizes to encourage children to take photographs, draw or paint pictures and write essays that convey the beauty of nature and inspire mankind to steward that precious resource.

“To view and behold nature in its true form is a joy,” said Corbeil, who writes a column in Viera Voice called Charlotte’s Web-Spinning Tales. 

“Moreover, the appreciation of nature is further enhanced through art, photography, or prose and poetry,” she added. “Participation in these fields at an early age leads to the conservation of nature.”

The winning works of the students will be unveiled at the Charlie Corbeil Conservation Awards on April 22 at the Heritage Isle Clubhouse Ballroom in Viera. Hosted by Viera Voice and the nonprofit Preserve Brevard, the awards acknowledge individuals who have made great strides in conservation. 

Charlie Corbeil, who died in late 2013, was well regarded in conservation circles, holding a certification as a Florida Master Naturalist and whose nature photography is displayed all over the world. He was among the original Wetlands Rangers at the Ritch Grissom Memorial Viera Wetlands, pointing out wildlife and helping budding nature photographers build their skill, and promoting the unique site in his travels worldwide.

Charlotte Corbeil said the student arts contest is a great way to raise up future “Charlies.”

“A child might be introduced by a parent, an educator, or a special group, such as scouting. For example, Charlie Corbeil became a conservationist at an early age through the Boy Scouts of America where he earned his Eagle Scout badge. Then, in his adulthood, he resumed his conservation efforts through photography, nature articles and volunteer work. Thus, he hoped to protect the precious creatures and their habitats.”

Submissions can be dropped off at the Viera Voice office, 7630 N. Wickham Rd., Suite 105, during office hours through 5 p.m. April 8. The contest is open to public, private and homeschool students and divided into age groups of K-2, 3-6, 7-8 and 9-12 with prizes in all levels and media categories.

The winners will be revealed April 13.

For more information on submission rules and instructions, call 321-242-1235, go to thecharlieawards.org