General Information

This Youth Climate Change Challenge is open to all elementary, middle school, and high school students in southern New Mexico, whether they attend public, charter, or private schools or home-school. Students may only submit one entry. By submitting an entry, the student gives permission to the Office of Senator Heinrich reproduce, quote or use the material submitted, in whole or in part, with attribution to the student and school, for official purposes only. Submissions will not be returned. Challenge winners will receive a school visit from Senator Heinrich, and their artwork will be displayed in his Washington, D.C. office.


  • Kindergarten – 3rd Grades: Drawing/Painting with Short Explanation (Drawing: 17”x11” max., Explanation: 3 sentences max.), Prompt: “Why is the Earth important to you?”
  • 4th – 5th Grade: Drawing/Painting with Short Explanation (Drawing: 17”x11” max., Explanation: 5 sentences max.), Prompt: “The Land I Love: The Place We Have to Save”
  • 6th – 8th Grade: Poem (250 words max.), Prompt: “The Youth Voice and the Climate Crisis”
  • High School: Short Essay (750 words max.), Prompt: “Beyond Protests: Taking on the Climate Crisis”

Accepted mediums for the Challenge are as follows:

  • Drawing and painting submissions must be original artworks no larger than 17” x 11”, either horizontal or vertical. Each submission must have the following information on the back:
    • Student's first and last name;
    • Student's age;
    • Name of school;
    • Contact telephone number, email, physical address and, if different, mailing address.
  • Essays and poems must be original compositions. All essays and poems should:
    • Be double spaced;
    • Have one-inch margins;
    • Include page numbers;
    • Include an essay or poem title;
    • Be typed or written in a legible size (12-point font, if typed); and
    • Include first and last name of writer, age, name of school, contact email, telephone number, physical address, and if different, mailing address.

Each entry must be original in concept, design, and execution and may not violate U.S. copyright laws. Any entry that has been copied from an existing photo or image (including a painting, graphic, or advertisement) that was created by someone other than the student is a violation of the Challenge rules and will not be accepted. For more information on copyright laws, we recommend you visit the Scholastic website.

Work entered must be in the original medium (that is, not a scanned reproduction of a painting or drawing).


  • February 19 – Competition Opens
  • April 10 - Deadline for submissions
  • April 17 - Winners notified
  • May, TBD - Senator Heinrich visits first place winners’ schools

Student Information and Release Form

Each entrant must submit a Student Information and Release Form. The Student Information and Release Form is available HERE.  

The information requested on the first page of the form should be provided as thoroughly as possible. Students should include their mailing addresses, if they differ from their home addresses. Students should also include contact information.

The form requires a description of the artwork, which should be detailed, clearly identifying the major elements of the work. The following is an example of a useful description: “A painting of two people; the person on the left wears a green sweater and khaki pants; the person on the right wears a black shirt and a striped skirt. A dog sits at their feet.” 

The second page of the Student Information and Release Form contains a legal release and a certification that the artwork is original in design and execution. The student, a teacher, and a parent or guardian must sign where appropriate. Entries without signed originality certifications and artwork releases may not be accepted. 

A copy of the Student Information and Release Form, signed by the teacher, a parent or guardian, and the student, must be securely attached to the back of the artwork to certify the originality of the piece. Please retain a copy for your records.

Any questions regarding the competition or submissions can be directed to Elsa Menendez at (505) 398-9304 or Elsa_Menendez@Heinrich.Senate.Gov.

All submissions must be postmarked or hand-delivered by 5 p.m. on April 10, 2020 to: 

Office of US Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico
Attn: Youth Climate Change Challenge
201 North Church St., Ste. 305
Las Cruces, N.M. 88001