ST. JAMES—Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) announced that two Maries R-2 students earned honorable mentions in the 32nd Annual Earth Day Poster, Trash and Graphic Art contest. This year’s contest theme was “Rescue Earth’s Resources: Become a First Responder for the Planet.” Travis Cook, 4th Grade, and Skylar Stevens, 5th Grade, received honorable mentions for their poster art in the contest. 

Maries County R-2 students were under the direction of Gifted teacher Carole Moore. 

“The Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District Earth Day Art Contest is in its 32nd year,” said Kathryn Hawes, environmental specialist. “We were thrilled to see so many entries in all categories including new schools and home school students participating. Artwork was displayed throughout the region’s art galleries, sponsor locations and on display at regional Earth Day celebrations.”

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 573 entries from 15 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 my favorite programs,” said Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC’s environmental program manager. “The projects the kids come up with are so creative. You don’t often think of trash as a medium for artistic expression, but it’s a great way to provide environmental education to our children and increase awareness of solid waste issues.”

“Each year, we are blown away by the creativity of the young minds in our region and so thankful that they have a unique way to express themselves and their care for our world,” Hawes said.

A gallery of awarded students art by grade level may be found on our website at 

The 2023 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: Infuze Credit Union of Rolla and Waynesville, Legends Bank of Belle, Town & Country Bank of Bourbon, Rolla, Salem and St. James, Security Bank of Pulaski County, The Missouri Bank, 63 Auto & Truck Parts LLC, Vichy, Bank of Crocker, The Maries County Bank -Vienna, Phelps County Bank – Rolla, First State Community Bank of Rolla and Richland, Steelville Chamber of Commerce and Teacher’s Corner of Rolla. 

The Ozark Rivers District includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities with populations of 500 or more. Troy Porter, Pulaski County, 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 Also, find us on Facebook at and on the web at 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 33, 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 or on Facebook at