Thousands of students have participated in the Jim Claypool Art and Conservation Writing contests since their introduction in 1974 and 1944, respectively. The contests educate students on soil, water, forestry and wildlife conservation. Students take the knowledge they have gained and transform it into creative art work and essays. Students can earn monetary prizes on the county, regional and state levels. They are also recognized each year by conservation districts around the state.
For many years, the Louisville-based Courier Journal was a major sponsor of the contest through the printing of the contest tabloids and sponsoring of U.S. Savings Bonds. In 2008, the contest entered a new era by only publishing its tabloid online.
The contest is made possible through the hard work and dedication of sponsors such as the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts and 121 conservation districts across the state.