Forests Ontario

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Our Forest Art Contest Submissions

Posted: May 28, 2020

We invited adult and youth alike to partake in an art contest to pass the time while physically distancing. Scroll down to see the finalists’ submissions and read more about the talented artists!

We will publish the winning art in the summer edition of Forest Ontario’s magazine, Our Forest, and mail some Forests Ontario swag to the winning artists. Voting is available on the Forests Ontario Facebook and Instagram page until Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

“Lifetime of the Red Oak, Acorn to Big Tree!” by Sophie Maiolo, age 8


Sophia Maiolo was just six years old when she fell in love with a giant Red Oak tree. Her love of the great outdoors was obvious when we spoke about nature. Those conversations led us to explore where the largest and oldest tree in Toronto was located. And to our surprise it was close to home, just 10 minutes away.

On Coral Gable Drive we found a colossal, stunning and unbelievable Red Oak Tree (Heritage recognized) behind a detached house where the land dipped down.

Upon arrival, we were astonished. We stood along the city’s curbside and gazed at it “Mama I cannot see the whole tree. A house is in front of it,” Sofia said.

We could only imagine it as a whole entity. After heading home, we began searching the internet to find out more about this tree. We came upon column after column, this tree was famous. We found out that Edith George, advisor to the Ontario Urban Forest Council, was the Red Oaks’ stanch supporter. Ms. George knew everything regarding its history and we hoped that one day we could chat about it.

Submission by Juniper (Juno) Jackson.

Not long after our nature excursion in early April 2017, Sophia saw that her cherished Red Oak tree was in danger. A television broadcast said the tree was being threatened and might face the axe. Sophia was upset to hear that a beautiful and special living thing would be chopped down. This is where children surprise us the most, because she immediately wanted to save the tree, and asked me what could be done. It took me a few days to figure out some strategies and lift her spirits. We began by spreading the word and collecting money to save this majestic tree on Earth Day April 22, 2017.

Sophia approached her family and friends to sponsor this tree and help her save it. She then went door-to-door, had garage sales, asked students to pitch in, and donations were pooled from guests of Edith George’s presentations on heritage trees.

Juno is 8 years old and is in grade 2. Her favourite colour is blue. She loves spending time outside. Climbing trees and riding her bike are her favourite activities. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and her plans for this summer (at home) involve selling extra produce and eggs at the end of the driveway. Her family is stepping-up their typical lemonade offerings this year! She’s also starting a button making business as her birthday/Christmas present this year was a button maker!

She made this drawing in December, 2019. She said she made it because it was winter and she was dreaming of summer at the time. The picture depicts a tree full of life. A bird with a nest full of eggs (and music notes!), a bear leaning against the tree eating berries. A squirrel with a bushy tail poking their head out and a fox. As a forester, Juno’s mum especially loves how she drew the roots of the tree and the cavities on the trunk and stem!

Mariane Larocque is 9 years old, and lives in Alfred, Ontario.

“I created a scene out of my own backyard trees, flowers and shrubs.  This scene represent my favourite activity in the forest, camping under the stars.”

Mariane Larocque, age 9

“The Forest Flows” by Mackenna Belding, Grade 10


Mackenna is currently a grade 10 student in Ontario. She enjoys painting, playing sports and exploring the forests of Ontario.

“My painting “The forest flows” is an interpretation of many of the sights I have seen while hiking in Algonquin provincial park, it captures the beautiful sunsets I love seeing and the calm atmosphere there is.”


The title of Cornelia Hunter’s drawing is “Spring Is Here”. It depicts a mix of local forest trees with different bud colours like Maple, Elm and Ash and we live in Meaford near the Beaver Valley.

“Spring is Here” by Cornelia Hunter

Julia Gostling, adult submission

Julia Gostling is an artist based in Elmvale, Ont.

The work of Julia Gostling reflects the diversity and inherent beauty of natural forms and patterns. She has a sensibility for harmonizing simplicity, complexity, and symmetry. Visionary, whimsical, and enchanting, her work reflects an underlying environmental consciousness. The ethereal, holographic quality, delicate intricacy, richness of surface, and vivid juxtaposition of glowing color and contrast, may be seen to communicate an allusion – the illusion of nature’s permanence.Educated at York University in Toronto, Gostling has a Fine Arts Degree with an honors distinction. Her work has been exhibited internationally in galleries and exhibitions, and online international exhibitions including The Hive Gallery, L.A., Fenario Gallery, Oregon, the Toronto Art Expo 2009, and the Interdimensional Art Show 2009 alongside visionaries Alex Grey and Andrew A. Gonzalez. Her work has been published internationally in the book Dynamic Media: Music, Video, Animation, and the Web in Adobe PDF, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics packaging, and in web, prop, and print marketing materials for Nucraze, a jewelry and accessories company.

“Island Sentry” by Nick Leniuk

Nick Leniuk’s work is hand carved from a variety of carving stones – primarily serpentine, soapstone, wonderstone and alabaster.

“This particular piece is called ‘Island Sentry’. It lives on a small island on OSA Lake in Killarney Provincial Park. My wife and I were lucky enough to secure a site on the remote lake a couple of years ago. We spent 3 nights and 4 amazing days on this spectacular piece of Ontario. While camped on this island, I sketched this beautiful tree and turned it into this stone carving. Also attached are some images of the O.S.A. area well for reference.”

Nick lives in Peterborough, Ontario.