Photo Release -- Pennsylvania Sixth Grade Class Selected as Winner of "Oceans" National Classroom Mural Contest

Event Sponsored by Wyland Foundation, Volvo Cars of North America and Fredrix Artist Canvas and Inspired by the New Disneynature Film "Oceans" Draws Record 29,000 Student Participants in 39 States

Aliso Viejo, California, UNITED STATES

MECHANICSBURG, Pa., April 29, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Barry Hamilton and Edie Genden's sixth grade classes from Mechanicsburg Middle School were named the grand prize winner of the OCEANS classroom mural contest, a national campaign to help students gain a better understanding of ocean conservation through art.

A photo accompanying this release is available at

The Wyland Foundation, Fredrix Artist Canvas, and Volvo Cars of North America donated more than 300 50-square foot canvas paint kits to public and private schools and community centers across the nation. 29,000 students in 39 states painted murals about a range of issues affecting ocean health, from overdevelopment to declining marine biodiversity. But students also chose to contrast marine problems by highlighting the astonishing beauty that still remains in the ocean.

"Children are fascinated by the ocean no matter where they live," says Wyland, who is best known for his series of 100 monumental marine life murals around the world. "This campaign not only provided them with artistic tools to express their interest in marine life, but the murals share that message with local communities that have a direct impact on these resources."

Judges chose the 5-foot by 10-foot mural by Mechanicsburg students for its strong advocacy message to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. "The artwork demonstrates how millions of people across six states depend on this vital natural resource," Judges said. "It portrayed the vast natural beauty of the Chesapeake Bay, as well as the environmental pressures that are currently impacting it."

Other winning classes included Ray Koch's seventh-grade art students from Kingston High School in Kingston, Ark., Deborah Thatcher's fifth-grade art students from Lakeview Elementary School in South Milwaukee, Wis., and Adriana Sandoval's art class at Miami Shores Community Center & Home Schoolers of Miami Enrichment in Miami, Fla. Classes spent the month of April working on their murals for display at schools and community centers. The grand prize winner will receive $1,500 worth of Fredrix Artist Canvas, $500 for art supplies, a class set of tickets to see Disneynature's film "Oceans," and a signed artwork by renowned marine life artist Wyland.

About the Sponsors

Marine life artist Wyland has done more than any other artist to raise awareness of the beauty of life on our blue planet. His Wyland Foundation (, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, NOAA, and the Ocean Institute of Dana Point, Calif., is actively engaged in teaching millions of students around the country about our oceans, rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands. • Featuring spectacular never-before-seen imagery captured by the latest underwater technologies, Disneynature's film "Oceans" (www. offers an unprecedented look beneath the sea in a powerful motion picture that is in theaters now. • Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, ( is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Corporation of Gothenburg, Sweden. Dating from the early 1970s, Volvo Cars' commitment to the environment covers the entire lifecycle of the car, from design, engineering and production to useful life, service and recycling. • Since 1868, Fredrix Artist Canvas ( has been providing unsurpassed quality and the broadest range of artist canvas available anywhere. Widely regarded as the largest supplier of artist canvas in the world, the Fredrix team has donated thousands of square feet of canvas over the years for community mural painting projects.

The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

Oceans National Classroom Mural Contest Winners