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DEC Announces Annual Arbor Day Poster and Artwork Contests

State Accepting Poster Submissions from New York Fifth Graders through Dec. 31

     New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the start of DEC's annual State Arbor Day poster contests. Each year, DEC's Urban and Community Forestry program offers two artwork contests for New Yorkers-one for all members of the public, and one specifically for fifth-grade students. Both contests aim to promote the immeasurable value of trees in the environment and New Yorkers' lives.

"Trees provide so many benefits, from energy reduction and carbon sequestration, to wildlife habitat and opportunities for recreation across the state," Commissioner Seggos said. "I encourage all New Yorkers to join our celebration of trees with these contests and submit art or photos that depict the beauty and importance of New York's trees."

     Contest winners will have their artwork replicated as either the 2020 New York State 5th Grade Arbor Day Poster or the 2020 New York State Arbor Day Original Artwork Poster. The winning artists will be announced and honored at the annual Arbor Day celebration, held in Albany in April. Last year, New York printed more than 200,000 Arbor Day posters for distribution at schools, libraries, government offices, nursery and landscaping businesses, and environmental organizations throughout the State.

     The annual 5th Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest is sponsored by DEC, the Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM), and the New York State Education Department. Students are asked to create an original poster depicting this year's contest theme, "Trees Feed New York." State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "New York State is home to nearly 19 million acres of forested land, and trees enhance our quality of life in countless ways-from the sap we use to make maple syrup, to the scenic beauty New Yorkers enjoy while traveling, hiking, gardening, or farming. The Arbor Day poster contest is a great way to celebrate our forests and trees and remind New Yorkers how much this natural resource contributes to our daily lives."

     Lesson plans, vocabulary, and activities for incorporating the theme in New York's classrooms are available on the poster contest website. The contest is open to all students enrolled in fifth grade. DEC encourages schools to submit classes together. Homeschool students are also welcome to submit artwork. Posters must be submitted to the participant's local DEC regional office by Dec. 20, 2019, to allow time for judging and printing artwork.

     The New York State Arbor Day Committee includes DEC, the Empire State Forest Foundation, New York State Arborist Association, DAM, and the International Paper Company.

     DEC will accept photograph and artwork submissions for the New York State Arbor Day Original Artwork Poster on behalf of the committee through Dec. 31, 2019. Original entries must feature trees within New York State and should be sent to arborday@dec.ny.gov. Participants must include their name, address, and where the photo was taken with submissions. Model consent forms are required for people in submitted photos. For more information about the contest, visit DEC's website or email arborday@dec.ny.gov.

    To obtain past New York State Arbor Day posters, contact any local DEC forestry office or call 518-402-9428.

The 22nd Annual AFE Gala - "Together for Every Student" raised a record breaking $55,000+ to support our programs while honoring Turner Construction, 4th Family, and Tracie Killar of the South End Children's Cafe! Thank you to all the sponsors, honorary committee members, attendees, and silent auction donors who made it possible!



Feed and Read needs your help


Recent funding cuts have forced us to reduce the number of students and schools served by Feed and Read - and we need your help to sustain this important program! It costs $300/year - or $25/month - to provide a student with a backpack for an entire school year. The backpacks include bread, cereal, fresh produce, and coupons for eggs or milk - along with an age-appropriate book each week to help students build literacy habits at home.

Learn more!


WOW! That's all we can say about last Friday's Gala. Thanks to your support, we were able to raise almost $55,000 to support the Albany Fund for Education's programs. That's a 26% increase from last year - and will mean great things to our students and schools in the year to come. A special thank you goes out to the sponsors, silent auction donors, and honorary committee members who went above and beyond to make this event a success! 

On behalf of all of us at AFE, thank you for being a part of this special event - we hope to see you again next year! 

October Grants Make a Difference at Albany High and Abrookin


AFE grants will help support the Albany High School Library's #ReadLikeAFalcon program and bring author Aisha Saeed to Albany High. #ReadLikeAFalcon incorporates popular library events such as Library After Dark and READ Day into a school-wide culture of recreational reading, putting books in the hands of students and helping reluctant readers discover the books that matter to them. 

Aisha Saeed has written several best-selling young adult novels, and is also a founder of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books. Her books reflect the immigrant and multi-cultural experiences common to many students at Albany High and throughout our district, and her background as a Pakastani-American shows students that anyone can be an author.


A grant to the Abrookin Career and Technical Center will allow students to attend the New York State SkillsUSA Leadership Conference. SkillsUSA is a national organization that provides training for students enrolled in career and technical education programs, engaging them in professional challenges, community service, and advocacy work. 

Photo: Abrookin Culinary Arts students and SkillsUSA Chapter Officers who will be attending the NYS Leadership Conference with AFE Executive Director Mari Shopsis at the Albany Public Library Literary Legends Gala, where they were serving the delicious appetizers and desserts they had prepared. 


New for the 2019-2020 school year! AFE and CDPHP are pleased to announce our joint Health and Wellness Grant Program.


AFE/CDPHP grants are intended to provide opportunities for students to learn healthy habits, incorporate wellness and stress reduction into the classroom experience, and increase physical activity. Learn more here!

Instrument Donation Program


The Albany Fund for Education collects musical instruments to put in the hands of Albany’s students. All donated instruments are refurbished and restored to playing condition before given to a child. Click the title to go to the program details.

Since its inception in 1998, the Albany Fund for Education (AFE) has brought forward new ideas, approaches and funding to support the children of the Albany City School District. AFE enhances opportunities for students
to learn, grow and succeed through building community partnerships, fundraising, and investing in innovative and effective programs that build equity and strengthen the educational infrastructure of Albany public schools.

Our Latest News

Dedication to Education, Pitney Bowes’ global volunteer program, began as a pilot in our home office community in 2014 and has expanded globally each year. Employee volunteer champions design and implement high-impact team projects, with help from a comprehensive toolkit and grants from the Pitney Bowes Foundation. All activities and projects support education, a top issue for our business, our employees and people throughout our communities.

On Monday November 18, 2019 our Troy, NY office was able to arrange and successfully administer another community event at the local elementary school in Arbor Hill, NY. It has been proven that these one-on-one activities with our local students are extremely rewarding for their futures. Giving back this time, even if it’s only for one hour, will help them succeed daily, and to know we have a part in that is engaging for our team. We were also able to partner with the Albany Fund for Education, whose mission is dedicated to maintaining a quality of education in the Capital District. 

Our group of 15 volunteers worked with over 50 (or 64) students in the four kindergarten classrooms by reading, participating in arts & craft, and donating much needed school supplies and snacks. Along with the students, the staff are extremely grateful every year that we reach out. We look forward to continuing this great event for years to come!

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Last comprehensive revision 15 November 2018

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The Albany Fund for Education

P.O. Box 3110

 Albany, NY 12203

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