Trail of Scarecrows
This annual competition for K-5 school groups or scout groups always offers arboretum guests an enjoyable autumn walk along the prairie’s edge. Students work together to create a scarecrow based on book themes or characters.
Participation Is Easy
- Review the Guidelines and submit a Registration Form
- Read a book with your class on the assigned theme
- Build a scarecrow representing the book or a character in the book and write an essay about the scarecrow
- Drop off scarecrow by the deadline
- Visit the arboretum during the month of October to see your scarecrow and essay on display. Arboretum visitors will vote for their favorite throughout the month.
- Attend an awards ceremony in late October. Winning classes/groups will be given free admission passes to attend the award ceremony. The three scarecrows with the highest number of votes will win a prize!
- Any K-5 school class or K-5 group is welcome to participate. Entries must be original and not pre-made. A class roster must be submitted at time of registration.
- Each entry must include a book title, scarecrow, scarecrow name and 150-200 word essay about the scarecrow. Scarecrows may not be dropped off until registration is approved by Gabis Arboretum staff.
- Steel posts will be provided by the arboretum and will be capable of supporting the scarecrow in a freestanding or seated manner. All scarecrow submissions must be backed by a 2×4 piece of wood to attach to base. Scarecrow base will not exceed 3.5 feet in width or length. Height is limited to 6 feet tall.
- Three top winners will be chosen by popular vote from the public.
- Gabis Arboretum reserves the right to remove any scarecrow that deteriorates to an unacceptable level during the month. Please make your submissions as weather-proof and indestructible as possible!
- Gabis Arboretum is not responsible for loss or damage to scarecrows while on display or in the drop-off/pick-up areas. Please do not use valuable materials/objects as the scarecrows will not be monitored.
- Gabis Arboretum will provide identifying signage for your scarecrow and install all scarecrows.
- Do not include live plant material, mulch, Tiki torches, flammable objects or gas/electric powered generators with your entries.
- No handouts, promotional material or free giveaways can be associated with your entry.
- Gabis Arboretum reserves the right to use photographs, school names, contact names and scarecrow names for publicity purposes.
- Entries must be suited for viewing by small children. Entries that are controversial, commercial, political or graphic (sexual/gory/scary) in nature will not be accepted.
- Scotchgard works to protect clothes against mildew.
- Stuffing can be made from many materials. Plastic bags and bubble wrap work well. Newspaper is not suggested.
- Scarecrows are outdoors and exposed to the elements for a full month. Please avoid water-soluble glues and paints.
- Use weather-resistant material like nylon and polyester.
- Ideas for the head: stuffed pillowcase, gourd, milk jug, ball or wood.
- Ideas for hair: shredded plastic, dried moss, old mop, yarn.
- Scarecrows stay outside in the arboretum, so make sure everything is secure. Sewing works best, but large safety pins or staples will work.
- A great resource: Scarecrows: Making Harvest Figures and Other Yard Folks by Felder Rushing.