Tulare first grader illustrates spot on Healthy Air Living Kids’ calendar

Sebastian Jones paints a picture of success for San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District 2023 calendar

CENTRAL VALLEY – A Frank Kohn Elementary School first grader was chosen amongst hundreds of students to have his artwork featured on the 26th annual San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

Amongst 14 lucky students of the San Joaquin Valley, Tulare’s Sebastian Jones was featured in the air district’s latest edition of their Healthy Air Living Kids’ calendar. His crayon-drawn submission, “Walking keeps our air clean!,” took the slot for March 2023. According to the air district’s outreach and communications representative Cassandra Melching, notable air pollution in the valley comes from mobile transportation, so art highlighting alternate forms of getting around had increased chances to be chosen.

“The way the selection process works is, ultimately, we’re looking for the correct message,” Melching said. “For Sebastian, his [art piece] had to do with ‘walking keeps air clean’ so it’s moving away from mobile sources. That was something that we [decided], ‘oh, that’s perfect’.”

This year, Sebastian is the only student from Tulare County to have their artwork displayed in the calendar, as well as the only first grader. According to Melching, the 14 winners were chosen from hundreds of student submissions. When selecting submissions, she said the air district tries to keep a balance between choosing students from the eight counties within the San Joaquin Valley. They also try to keep a balance between grade levels, which range from kindergarten to twelfth, as well as a balance between genders. 

“This whole program was designed to help get kids involved and help get their wheels spinning on how they can make a difference,” Melching said. “It’s just a tool used to help educate and inspire young children of all ages on how to create a better, healthy air life and reduce air pollution here in the valley.”

This annual calendar is a bilingual, full-color wall calendar featuring messages that promote clean air and feature drawings from San Joaquin Valley students. The calendar is designed to educate and inspire healthy air living and air pollution reduction in the valley.

The calendars are free and distributed to schools, community groups, healthcare facilities, churches, civic organizations, nonprofits and individuals who request them. They are available while supplies last. 

Along with Sebastian Jones, the remaining 13 students featured in the calendar are:

  • Sienna Valdivia, fourth grade, Shafter, cover artist of “Kids want to play, so keep our air clean!”
  • Evelyn, sixth grade, Bakersfield, “Rideshare for better air.”
  • Arella Siret Vidrio Calderon, eleventh grade, Stockton, “We need clean air, stop idling!”
  • Erika Matties, eighth grade, Modesto, “Clean air means we care.”
  • Miguel Cabrera, sixth grade, Madera, “Clean our air.”
  • Felix F. Hernandez, eighth grade, Arvin, “Switch to an electric car.”
  • Tabitha Hitchman, ninth grade, Hanford, “Use electric mowers instead of gas to help clean the air!”
  • Millie Murguia, third grade, Delano, “Jog, don’t smog.”
  • Milli Johal, third grade, Atwater, “Healthy Air Living.”
  • Aranza Garcia Soto, second grade, Fresno, “Check the air before you let your kids play outside!”
  • Genesis Esparza, eighth grade, Arvin, “Don’t burn wood. Save energy. Help change the air quality.”
  • Elyies Dukes, eleventh grade, Stockton, “Clean air.”
  • Caitlyn Lee, sixth grade, Fresno,  “Don’t burn trash! It pollutes our air!”

To request one of these calendars, interested residents, schools and other organizations can email [email protected] or contact the number 559-230-6000. Additionally, calendars can be picked up at any of the San Joaquin Valley air district offices, which are located at: 1990 E. Gettysburg Ave in Fresno, 4800 Enterprise Way in Modesto and 34936 Flyover Court in Bakersfield.

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