Twenty-two students will receive awards in this year’s Youth Conservation Poster Contest sponsored by the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).
By illustrating the topic “Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities,” students in Richland County schools addressed numerous ways that diverse and abundant forests contribute to a healthy environment. The contest challenged students to think of qualities of healthy forests and, in turn, how healthy forest ecosystems improve the health of a range of communities.
“Students were asked to think of themselves as being members and participants in their community, and to demonstrate ways we can all work together to have healthier forests and healthier communities,” said Mary Hannah Lindsay, community outreach coordinator for Richland SWCD.
Trees produce multiple benefits. They reduce stormwater runoff, increase the soil’s ability to absorb and store water, and prevent soil erosion – all of which lead to cleaner, healthier waterways and reduced flooding.
Some of the students’ posters highlighted practices such as replanting trees after removing them, as well as ways to prevent water, air and soil pollution, Lindsay said.
“I was elated to learn that this year’s middle school winners are from District 7,” said Councilwoman Gretchen Barron, who represents the district. “Our children are our future. I believe increasing their awareness is important and will help our younger generations to foster a concern for the environmental issues that will impact us many years down the road.“
In addition to environmental health, healthy forests are tied to mental, physical and emotional health. And in South Carolina, of which 63 percent is forested, forestry and forest product industries provide more than 98,000 jobs and have a $21.2 billion impact on the state’s economy.
More than 85 students submitted entries in this year’s contest. Winners will receive cash prizes, and five entries will progress to the state competition hosted by the S.C. Association of Conservation Districts.
The Conservation Poster Contest is an annual education program hosted by the Richland SWCD with support from the state and national Associations of Conservation Districts. For more information, email Chanda Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contest winners were:
- First place: Neveah Stein, first grade, Edward E. Taylor Elementary
- Second place: Dyuthi Sudheer, first grade, A.C. Moore Elementary
- Third place: Uriel Sanchez, first grade, Arden Elementary
- First place: Kayden Ashford-Reed, second grade, Edward E. Taylor Elementary
- Second place: Gabriela Mixon, second grade, Cutler Jewish Day School
- Third place: June Heyden, third grade, A.C. Moore Elementary; Madeleine Warren, third grade, A.C. Moore Elementary
- Honorable mention: Elias Alvarado Lopez, third grade, L.W. Conder Elementary; Thomas Sabourin and Kylie Judy, second grade, Dutch Fork Elementary; Batya Marrus, second grade, Cutler Jewish Day School
- First place: Amiya Anderson, fourth grade, Bethel-Hanberry Elementary
- Second place: Sa’Miyah Hall, fifth grade, Edward E. Taylor Elementary; Olivia Faure, fourth grade, Bethel-Hanberry Elementary
- Third place: Akeelah Hussey, fifth grade, Edward E. Taylor Elementary
- Honorable mention: Tracy Martel, fifth grade, Arden Elementary; Zabriyah Heatley-Goulbourne, fourth grade, Forest Heights Elementary
- First place: Addison Chamberlain, eighth grade, Longleaf Middle
- Second place: Ariana Belleastin, eighth grade, Longleaf Middle
- Third place: Jayden Dunn, eighth grade, Longleaf Middle
- First place: Madeline Dissinger, 12th grade, Spring Valley High School
- Second place: Taylor Kohn, 11th grade, S.C. Association of Independent Home Schools
A poster designed by Kayden Ashford-Reed, a second-grader at Edward E. Taylor Elementary, took first place in the second-third grade category of the County’s Conservation Poster Contest.