Jun. 5—SOCIAL CIRCLE — Twelve school children recently were announced as statewide winners in the Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest.
About 1,100 kindergarten-fifth-grade students from 22 public schools, private schools, homeschool groups and after-school camps took part in the 31st annual conservation art competition held by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.
Statewide winners in the four grade divisions include:
Division 1: Kindergarten
First: Delyla Brooks, Funston Elementary, Funston
Second: Annalyn Wietecha, Fayetteville Elementary, Fayetteville
Third: Julian Luetkemoeller, Peachtree Academy, Conyers.
Division 2: First-second grades
First: Ava Sorrow, Fayetteville Elementary, Fayetteville
Second: Kenya Espinosa Sandoval, Funston Elementary, Funston
Third: Flora Maldonado Wells, Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary, Athens
Division 3: Third-fourth grades
First: Jayden Mulamoottill, Barrow Elementary, Athens
Second: Hadley Marunich, Elbert County Elementary, Elberton
Third: AnnaGail Hammack, Southland Academy, Americus
Division 4: Fifth grade
First: Alfonzo Mitchell, Fayetteville Elementary, Fayetteville
Second: Darina Ramirez-Mireles, Funston Elementary, Funston
Third: Jaimie Hochstetler, Koinonia Farm, Americus
Participants entered at the local school level with drawings and paintings of native Georgia plants and animals in line with the 2021 contest theme, "Nature is Everywhere!" Entries were judged on aspects such as theme, originality and the quality and impact of the artwork. First-place school-level entries proceeded to the state contest at the State Botanical Garden, part of the University of Georgia in Athens.
Winning submissions are showcased on the DNR Wildlife Resources Division's SmugMug site at https://bit.ly/3bZP69f, as well as in a two-minute video produced by the State Botanical Garden of Georgia (https://kaltura.uga.edu/media/t/1_t96eup8e).
The State Botanical Garden is home to a range of collections, displays, trails and programs designed to delight and educate teachers, children and the public. The Garden also administers the Connect to Protect program, which emphasizes that even small native-plant installations can help maintain biodiversity in urban and suburban landscapes. Learn more at botgarden.uga.edu or call (706) 542-1244. This public garden is a gift to visitors and Georgia residents; therefore, parking and admission are free.
The Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest is sponsored by the DNR Wildlife Resources Division, the State Botanical Garden and The Environmental Resources Network, or TERN, friends group of DNR's Wildlife Conservation Section. For more information, visit georgiawildlife.com/PosterContest.
Georgians can support important conservation, recreation and education efforts as well as other programs for Georgia's nongame wildlife by purchasing or renewing a bald eagle or monarch butterfly license plate or donating directly to the Wildlife Conservation Section. This agency depends largely on fundraisers for its mission to conserve wildlife, native plants and natural habitats.