Belle Elementary School Earth Day contest winners were Olivia Jones, Gifted Teacher Carole Moore, Elayna White, and Emma White.
Bland Middle School student Lauren Prigge (left) and Gifted Teacher Carole Moore display Prigge’s first place projects in the Trash Art and Poster Art contests.

 Four Maries County students place in Earth Day contest

ST. JAMES—Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) announced four Maries County students were among the 43 first and second place winners and 48 honorable mentions earning prizes in the 24th Annual Earth Day Poster, Trash and Electronic Art Contest. This year’s contest theme was “Get wired for e-cycling.”

“Our annual Earth Day contest gives students a venue to explore and express their environmental stance,” said Jill Hollowell, environmental programs specialist at Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC). “It is encouraging to see their environmental passion and knowledge expressed through their art projects as these students are our leaders of tomorrow.”

The contest required participants to re-purpose trash into three-dimensional pieces of art or create posters, based on this year’s theme. There were 527 entries from 13 schools and a homeschool group. Entries included 393 posters, 100 art projects and 34 graphic art entries. 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 my favorite projects – every year the entries just get better and better. What a fun way to educate our kids on being good stewards of our environment,” said Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC’s environmental programs manager.
Maries County winners were:

  • Lauren Prigge, 6th grade, Maries County R-2 Bland Middle School, 1st Place Trash Art.
  • Emma White, Maries County R-2 Belle Elementary School, 4th grade, 1st Place Poster Art.
  •  Lauren Prigge, Maries County Bland Middle School, 6th grade, 1st Place Poster Art.
  • Olivia Jones, Maries R-2 Belle Elementary School, 4th grade, 2nd Place, Poster Art.
  • Elayna White, Maries R-2 Belle Elementary School, 2nd grade, Honorable Mention Poster Art.

Maries County students participating in the contest were under the direction of teacher Carole Moore.

Judges for the contest included Ryan Dunwoody, Tammy Rigsby and Holly Kreienkamp of MRPC, Crocker Mayor James Morgan, Tish Tsiptsis , Karen Groom and Audrey Roshan of Phelps County Bank, Brady Wilson of City of Rolla Environmental Services and chairman of the Ozark Rivers District and Ann Renner, Community Partnership Resale Shop volunteer.

“These projects make students very aware of what they can do,” said Tsiptsis, a Phelps County Bank marketing employee who is also a trash artist. “There is beauty in everything and everything has a purpose. It’s about opening your mind and finding that beauty and purpose.”

The identities of the students and their schools were concealed during the judging process.

The 2016 Earth Day contest was funded through an ORSWMD grant, made possible through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), along with donations from the following area sponsors: Bank of Salem, Belgrade State Bank, City of Rolla Recycling Center, Citizens Bank of Newburg, Legends Bank, Maries County Bank of Belle, Maries County Bank of Vienna, Ozark Federal Savings and Loan Association, Phelps County Bank, Peoples Bank of Cuba, Peoples Bank of Steelville, Town & Country Bank, Unico Bank and The Missouri Bank of Hermann.

The Ozark Rivers District’s strategy for solid waste reduction, which has been individually adopted by all member governments and approved by MDNR, involves intense education and increased recycling efforts in member counties and cities.

For more information about ORSWMD or recycling opportunities in the Ozark Rivers area, contact Snodgrass or Hollowell at 573-265-2993 or by email at or

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. A professional staff of 23, directed by the MRPC board, 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 or on Facebook at Facebook at