Protect. Check. Remove.: Pennsylvania Students Draw Awareness to Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease Student Art CompetitionCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania authorities recently revealed the winners of the 2024 “Protect. Check. Remove. Lyme Disease Student Art Competition.” A total of 29 students from across the Commonwealth received recognition for their creative outputs, which were aimed at raising awareness about a pervasive health hazard – Lyme disease and its carrier, the tick.

The student art competition, an effort backed by multiple agencies within the Shapiro Administration including the Departments of Health (DOH), Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and Environmental Protection (DEP), primarily underscores the importance of spending time outdoors safely. It is a tangible testament to the administration’s dedication to fostering healthy behaviors and preventing diseases.

As stated by Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen, the competition presents a hands-on, creative platform for young Pennsylvanians and their families to delve deeper into Lyme disease prevention methods.

To supplement their ongoing public health initiative, the DOH also launched a new online dashboard earlier this week. This innovative tool enables Pennsylvania residents to ascertain places where ticks flourish, thereby mandating appropriate precautions during outdoor activities.

The artwork contest witnessed over 253 submissions from first through sixth graders across the state in March 2024. The artsy entries, comprising not only posters but also creative videos, serve as an educational window for children about the habitats of ticks, preventive measures against tick bites, and the signs of Lyme disease.

In a captivating display of artistic creativity, the winning entries will grace the Pennsylvania State Capitol near the Senate Fountain Area through the end of May.

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Deputy Secretary for Field Operations, John Ryder, warned that Lyme disease had spread to all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. His remarks underlined the urgency to take commonsense measures of protection while venturing outdoors.

The artistic competition also won accolades from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Executive Policy Specialist, Ali Bowling. Bowling appreciated the initiative as a fun, creative means to inform Pennsylvania’s younger generations about critical public health issues.

The competition recognized 15 posters and three video submissions from ranges of grades. From Chester County’s Anwitha Ajith winning the first place among the first and second-grade students, to Greene County’s Kaitlyn Courtwright that topped the fifth and sixth-grade category, and Neelia Parraga from Lancaster County who won the video contest for grades 1 & 2, the winners spanned diverse regions of the state.

By sharing a compelling narrative of public health through art, this student competition exemplifies how creativity can serve an instrumental role in amplifying awareness on crucial issues. With every stroke of the paintbrush and frame of the video, Pennsylvania’s students have sparked a significant conversation on Lyme disease, reinforcing the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to a healthier, safer state.

For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News and Microsoft Start.