AUGUSTA, Maine – The Maine Forest Service has a brand-new poster, created by an Augusta-area vocational student, designed to get out the word about Maine’s ban on out-of-state firewood.
The new poster features an out-of-state “bugmobile” graphic by Kalyn Van Valkenburgh, who graduated this year from Erskine Academy and the Capital AreaTechnical Center in Augusta. The poster is a strong reminder that out-of-state firewood can carry unwanted invasive and dangerous insects, such as the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle, into Maine.
“Out-of-state Firewood Gives Bugs a Free Ride,” states the new poster, which will soon appear at state and local parks, campgrounds and boat ramps. “Buy It Where You Burn It.”
The young artist, who plans to attend college at the Parsons-The New School of Design this fall and major in fashion design, said she was very enthusiastic about being able to design the poster for the Maine Forest Service (MFS), under the Maine Department of Conservation.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “Instead of making art that’s just going to sit there, I’m making art that has a purpose.”
Public support for the firewood ban, enacted by the state Legislature in April 2010, has been very strong, according to Dave Struble, Maine state entomologist. Public awareness of the invasive-insect issue so far has helped to keep EAB and ALB out of the state.
The Maine Forest Service had been using a distinctive poster that told people to “pack marshmallows, not firewood.” The new poster now “refreshes the message and catches people’s eye,” Struble said.
Charlene Donahue, MFS forest entomologist, worked with Van Valkenburgh after she was recommended for the project by her instructor, graphic arts teacher Paul Salois. Donahue shared resource materials with her, emphasizing the importance of the message.
“She immediately got it,” Donahue said. “I was impressed with her professionalism when we sat down together.”
Brainstorming about the project, Van Valkenburgh said she wanted to create “an image that was funny, weird and quirky.” She worked over a two-week period, making at least 20 thumbnail sketches and drawing the entire poster three times.
“I wanted something that would make people happy … I wanted something a little comical and a little jocular that would poke fun,” she said.
The bugmobile “was the image that immediately popped into her mind, and I loved it,” Donahue said. “Once she did the drawing, that’s what we went with.”
Donahue described the experience of working with Van Valkenburgh as “very positive” and recommended working with students in such a capacity.
“I would do it again,” she said. “It’s a way for them to get experience and to perform an important public service.”
The new poster is available on line at: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/
For more information, call (207) 287-2791or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the Maine Forest Service, go to: http://www.maineforestservice.