Student artists design new recreation signs for the Oregon Dunes

Release Date: Oct 20, 2015

Contact(s): Lisa Romano, Paul Meznarich

Hannah Smoldt knows first-hand that signs can be overlooked when visitors are recreating within the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

“Sometimes I need to remind my family of the signs we see while riding on the Dunes, so we make sure we’re following the rules,” said the fourth-grader from Mapleton Elementary School. Smoldt was one of three award-winners in a contest for kids to create signs encouraging visitors to protect natural resources on the Dunes through responsible recreation.

Smoldt’s sign depicts rolling dunes along with sensitive plant and bird species, all under the heading “Restoring the Dunes for Future Generations.”

“When people see my sign, I hope they’ll stay out of areas where they’re not supposed to go because I like the animals and want them to be alive,” she said. 

Smoldt recently took a break from her school’s jog-a-thon to receive her prizes – a Forest Service lapel pin and a gift certificate to be used at either the Cape Perpetua  or Oregon Dunes Visitor Center – accompanied by the applause of her teachers and classmates. Other award-winners included Kristen Lynn Wall from Siuslaw Elementary School in Florence and Peyton Mesa of Highland Elementary School in Reedsport.

About 50 fourth-graders participated in the contest. The three winners’ signs will be reproduced and stationed throughout the Dunes in conjunction with snowy plover nesting areas and new riding route designations.

“The students all did a terrific job of capturing the message of protecting resources on the Dunes for future generations,” said Dave Thompson, interpretive specialist and contest organizer for the Siuslaw National Forest. “We hope visitors will take the time to enjoy the students’ creativity and share in their sentiments.”

For Smoldt, however, she’s keeping her focus close to home.

“I think my dad will probably read my sign because it was drawn by me,” she said.

Visitors should be seeing the students’ artwork by summer 2016.

Fourth-grader Hannah Smoldt receives her award for her winning Oregon Dunes sign