ST. JAMES—Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) announced that 27 Gasconade County students were honored with first and second place awards and honorable mentions in the 30th Annual Earth Day Poster, Trash and Graphic Art contest. This year’s contest theme was “Go Green – Keep Our Planet Clean.” 

Winners from Gasconade County were:

  • Josie Bolte, 1st grade, St. George Catholic School, Honorable Mention Trash Art;
  • Jordan Bolte, 2nd grade, St. George Catholic School, First Place Trash Art;
  • Lane Schebaum, 2nd grade, St. George Catholic School, Honorable Mention Trash Art;
  • Madisyn Owens, 3rd grade, St. George Catholic School, Second Place Trash Art;
  • Deegan Priess, 3rd grade, St. George Catholic School, Honorable Mention Trash Art;
  • Carter Baynes, 4th grade, St. George Catholic School, Second Place Trash Art;
  • Emma Manning, 5th grade, St. George Catholic School, Honorable Mention Trash Art;
  • Lainey Branson, 6th grade, Owensville Middle School, First Place Poster Art;
  • Clayton Koenigsfeld, 6th grade, St. George Catholic School, First Place Trash Art;
  • Braden Hutchings, 6th grade, St. George Catholic School, Second Place Trash Art;
  • Hannah Coello, 6th grade, Owensville Middle School, Second Place Poster Art;
  • Eli Hiatt, 6th grade, Owensville Middle School, Honorable Mention Poster Art;
  • Brody Slinkard, 6th grade, Owensville Middle School, Honorable Mention Poster Art;
  • George Vandegriffe, 6th grade, Owensville Middle School, Honorable Mention Poster Art;
  • Carter Gerlemann, 6th grade, St. George Catholic School, Honorable Mention Trash Art;
  • Harper Priess, 6th grade, St. George Catholic School, Honorable Mention Trash Art;
  • Landon Baynes, 7th grade, St. George Catholic School, Honorable Mention Trash Art;
  • Alivia Gibson, 8th grade, Owensville Middle School, First Place Poster Art;
  • William Manning, 8th grade, St. George Catholic School, First Place Trash Art;
  • Connor Manning, 8th grade, St. George Catholic School, Second Place Trash Art;
  • Olivia Beste, 8th grade, Owensville Middle School, Second Place Poster Art;
  • Elizabeth Adams, 8th grade, Owensville Middle School, Honorable Mention Poster Art;
  • Camryn Caldwell, 8th grade, Owensville Middle School, Honorable Mention Poster Art;
  • Callie Koelling, 8th grade, Owensville Middle School, Honorable Mention Poster Art;
  • Coulter Schwartze, 8th grade, St. George Catholic School, Honorable Mention Trash Art;
  • Easton Stiers, 8th grade, St. George Catholic School, Honorable Mention Trash Art; and
  • Oliver Wagner, 8th grade, St. George Catholic School, Honorable Mention Trash Art.

Gasconade County students were under the direction of teachers Dawn Chaney (Owensville Middle School) and Susan Chorley (St. George Catholic School in Hermann).

“In its 30th year, the Ozark Rivers Earth Day Art Contest has touched the lives of many students in the district,” said Jill Hollowell, Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) environmental specialist. “I especially enjoyed visiting classrooms this year and hearing firsthand about students’ environmental concerns and hopes and the concepts behind their art submissions. The contest also provides educators with activities in alignment with each year’s theme.”

The contest required participants to re-purpose trash into three-dimensional pieces of art or create posters (hand drawn or graphically designed), based on the year’s theme. There were 268 entries from 12 schools in the district and one homeschool group. The contest was open to kindergarten through 12th grade, homeschool, college and university students who reside or attend school in Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties. 

“The Earth Day contest is one of the highlights of the year,” said Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC’s environmental program manager. “The kids are so creative – I love seeing the unique ways they express themselves through art. The whole process – from creating a poster on the theme to creating art from trash – it’s a great way to educate our children on the environment.” 

“While contest participation was lower than usual due to COVID-19 interruptions, we greatly appreciated those who di submit entries,” Hollowell said. “Prizes made with recycled content were distributed to the winning artists. Student art was then displayed through Arts Rolla during its environmental art show.” 

A gallery of awarded students art by grade level may be found on our website at ozarkrivers.org/programs-and-services/earth-day/. 

The 2021 Earth Day Contest was funded through a ORSWMD grant, made possible through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), along with donations from the following area sponsors: St. James Chamber of Commerce, Phelps County Bank, 63 Auto & Truck Parts, Rolla Public School Teacher’s Corner, City of Rolla Recycling Center, Mid America Bank, People’s Bank of Cuba, Maries County Bank of St. James, Maries County Bank of Argyle, Belgrade State Bank, Legends Bank of Belle and Security Bank of Pulaski County. 

The Ozark Rivers District includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities with populations of 500 or more. Brady Wilson, city of Rolla, chairs the group. The district’s strategy for solid waste reduction, which has been individually adopted by all member governments and approved by Missouri Department of Natural Resources, involves education and increased recycling and waste reduction efforts in member counties and cities. MRPC provides administration of the district and assists with a variety of implementation projects.

For more information about ORSWMD or waste reduction and recycling opportunities in the Ozark Rivers area, contact Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC environmental programs manager, at 573-265-2993 or by email at [email protected]. Also, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ORSWMD and on the web at www.ozarkrivers.org. MRPC provides the day-to-day administration for Ozark Rivers. 

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. Steve Vogt, representing the city of Belle, serves as MRPC chairman. A professional staff of 34 led by Executive Director Bonnie Prigge offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.

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