The success of budding young artists from two schools in Oxfordshire has been recognised by the Cotswolds Conservation Board.

Pupils at Holy Trinity RC Primary School in Chipping Norton, which is in the AONB, and Barley Hill Primary School in Thame won prizes in an art competition which invited children aged five to 11 to paint and draw their favourite views in the county.

To mark their achievements, the Cotswolds Conservation Board, the organisation that exists to oversee the Cotswolds AONB, presented each school with a native broad-leafed sapling tree to be planted in their grounds and both chose a Bird Cherry (Prunus Padus).

The winning artwork, judged by landscape experts from across Europe, was displayed at Oxford Town Hall as part of the European Federation of Protected Areas conference, Europarc2006.

In each of the two age group categories (5 to 7 and 8 to 11) the first prize was £70 and a year's free membership to Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. The second prize was £35 and the third prize was £20. Pupils from Holy Trinity scooped two prizes in each category. Maddy Cullen (aged 9) won the first prize in the 8 to 11 group with a painting of the Uffington White Horse, while Georgina Allen (aged 9) came second with her painting of Bliss Mill at Chipping Norton.

In the 5 to 7 group Bethany Tanner (aged 6) came second with a painting of the Rollright Stones and a painting of rolling hills by Kay Van Blerk (aged 6) was third. Sophie Crowe (aged 11) from Barley Hill School came third in the 8 to 11 group with her picture called Tadpole River.

Bernadette May, Head Teacher at Holy Trinity RC Primary School, said:

"The pupils and staff are delighted with the Bird Cherry tree, which has been planted in grounds at the front of the school.

"It is a lovely way to recognise the children's achievements in the art competition, and will also remind us all how important it is to look after our countryside."

Harry Cox, a student at Harper Adams University College who is on a student placement with the Cotswolds Conservation Board, organised the presentation of the trees to the winning schools.

Harry said:

"The Board was delighted to be involved in the competition as it was an effective way to make young people aware of the importance of preserving the natural beauty of their environment."