2020 Winning Poster EntryST. JAMES—Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) announced that 65 students from Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries and Phelps counties were honored with first and second place awards and honorable mentions in the 29th Annual Earth Day Poster, Trash and Graphic Art contest. This year’s contest theme was “One Positive Change Will Make a Difference for Planet Earth.”

“In its 29th 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. “It is so special for students to be recognized and rewarded. 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 567 entries from 13 schools in the district and several homeschooled students. 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.”

Unfortunately, COVID-19 caused school closures that limited the number of schools that could participate and additionally, caused a change to the way that students were awarded for their places. Students who won or placed in the contest received cash prizes instead of items made of recyclable material this year due to the need to mail the awards to students. A complete list of winners can be found at https://ozarkrivers.org/programs-and-services/earth-day/.

The 2020 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: Champlin Tire Recycling Inc., St. James Chamber of Commerce, Unico Bank, Phelps County Bank, Noah Coleman Daughters of the American Revolution, 63 Auto & Truck Parts, Fidelity Communications, Rolla Public School Teacher’s Corner, Steelville Area Chamber of Commerce, Cuba Veterinary Clinic, City of Rolla Recycling Center, Regions Bank and Citizens’ Climate Education.

2020 Trash Art Winning EntryThe Ozark Rivers District includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities with populations of 500 or more. 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 tsnodgrass@meramecregion.org. 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. Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 34 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/.