15 students recognized for conservation contest

Shawano County Land Conservation poster contest saw 171 entries this year
Luke Reimer

Fifteen students were honored at the Shawano County Board of Supervisors meeting on March 22 for their success in the land conservation poster contest.

For the past five years, the Shawano County Land Conservation Department has hosted the contest to introduce students to various topics revolving around conservation. The students then get the opportunity to research and express their interpretation of that topic on a poster. This year, the topic entailed water and the effect it has on our lives.

The poster contest is split into four levels — local, area, state and national. The first-place finishers from the local level were forwarded to the Lake Michigan area contest. Four students placed first in the Lake Michigan Area contest and moved onto the state level contest. Birnamwood third grader Quinn Meverden finished the highest in the county, taking home a third-place finish at state.

The contest is also separated into grade divisions, with kindergarten through first grade representing one division, second through third grade representing a division, fourth through sixth grade, seventh through ninth grade and 10th through 12th grade representing a division.

“This year has been an awesome year for our poster contest,” said Youth Education Committee Member and Land Conservation Office Assistant Mary George. “This year has been a year of firsts for Shawano County. It was the first time that we had at least three submissions for each grade division. It was the first time we had winners for first, second and third places for each division.”

This year, George said that a significant amount of students entered the contest, compared to years past.

“It was the most posters Shawano County has ever had submitted — 171 posters,” said George. “It was the first time we had four out of five grade divisions win first place at the Wisconsin Land and Water Lake Michigan Area, which means that this is the first time we had four grade divisions go to the state poster contest.”

George added that, along with the 171 posters, this year also featured the most schools partaking in the event, including LEADS Primary Charter School, Shawano Community Middle School, Olga Brener Intermediate School, Sacred Heart Catholic School, St. Paul Lutheran School, Bowler Middle-High School, Marion High School, Wittenberg Elementary-Middle School and Birnamwood Elementary-Middle School.

“For a lot of them, it was hard to pick, because the ideas were just amazing,” said George. “What amazed me is the teachers that stepped up to the plate. The art teacher at Sacred Heart (Stephanie Bendtscheider) gave this as a class assignment for the whole school, kindergarten through 12th. There was 74 posters from Sacred Heart.”

She said that giving these students the opportunity to research and display various conservation topics allows them to understand and learn about conservation at a young age.

“A lot of conservationists will tell you that you have to teach the young, so that they can be good stewards of the land and water,” said George. “It is important to bring these ideas at an early age to kind of give them the opportunity to think and ponder about those ideas. This poster contest gives them an outlet, too. Not all kids are jocks or have different interests, so this is their outlet.”

Each student who placed in the local contest was given a certificate, a placement medal and a gift certificate from the Land Conservation Department. Students were also awarded with gifts from Seagrave Fire Apparatus for their efforts in this contest.