Wisconsin Dells - The Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association (WI Land+Water) hosted its 70thAnnual Conservation Conference on March 1-3, 2023. As part of the conference, the WI Land+Water Youth Education Committee hosted the 66th Annual Conservation Awareness Poster and Speaking Contests. The speaking contest featured students from across Wisconsin delivering speeches on important conservation topics, while the poster contest showcased posters with a conservation theme of “One Water”. Members of the Youth Education Committee and volunteers from county land conservation departments judged the speaking contest, and Association members and conference registrants voted on student posters.
At the conference’s opening luncheon, the first-place winners from the elementary, junior, and senior divisions of the speaking contest presented their speeches to a crowd of almost 500 conservation professionals and guests from across the state. The speeches had to address a relevant issue related to soil and water conservation, with an emphasis on its impact on their locality or Wisconsin.
For the poster contest, the first-place winners in the primary, elementary, middle, junior and senior division will move on to represent Wisconsin at the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) Poster Contest held at the NACD annual meeting in 2024. The theme of this year's conservation poster awareness contest was "One Water".
Amy Workman, Director of Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center, and Matt Krueger, Executive Director of WI Land+Water, presented the speaking contest winners with trophies and commended all of the students who participated across Wisconsin for their outstanding speeches and posters, as well their commitment to conservation.
“After two years of virtual conferences because of the pandemic, it was great to welcome our members and students back to our in-person conference,” said Krueger. “Having the student speakers kick-off our luncheon with timely conservation topics is always a highlight of our conference.”
Amy Workman thanked the participants for all their hard work they put into their speeches and posters. "It was such an honor and privilege to be part of the 2023 Conservation Awareness Poster and Speaking Contest! I was gratified and inspired to see and hear the talented youth of Wisconsin give voice to the lands and waters of our state. Thank you to all the participating youth for sharing your words and artwork under the critical theme of ‘One Water!’”
Elementary Division: First place: Adisyn Schoeneck, Oneida County, “The Living Fossil”; Second place: Katie Butman, Trempealeau County, “Erosion Got Big”; Third place: Maeve Hasselquist, Pierce County, “Wild Parsnip.”
Junior Division: First place: Katelyn McNelly, Portage County, “Is Solar Power a Good Conservation Tool?”; Second place: Briella Brusveen, Columbia County, “Generational Conservation in Agriculture”; Third Place: Lucy Hoyt, Pepin County, “Use of Invasive Minnows’ Impact on Water Quality.”
Senior Division: First place: Amber Higley, Vilas County, “You Might Like These Fleas”; Second place: Charlie Thompson, Trempealeau County, “Runoff’s Impact on Soil Health and Agricultural Productivity”; Third place: Ava Wagner, Marquette County, “The Effect of Farm Runoff.”
Primary Division: (K-1) First Place: Bonnie Strabel, Douglas County; Second Place: Ellie Tomaszewski, Vilas County; Third Place: Paxton Marth, Crawford County.
Elementary Division: (2-3) First Place: Tulip Ghorai, Washington County; Second Place: Madeline McNelly, Portage County; Third Place: Quinn Meverden, Shawano County.
Middle Division: (4-6) First Place: Pearl Carriveau, Portage County; Second Place: Pearl Hillary, Green County; Third Place: Addie Thonos, Fond du Lac County.
Junior Division: (7-9) First Place: Mairead Kavanaugh, Green Lake County; Second Place: Lily Berg, Monroe County; Third Place: Khole Kennedy, Ashland County.
Senior Division: (10-12) First Place: Norah Johnstone, Washington County; Second Place: Sophia Roth, Green County; Third Place: Brooke Froemel, Sawyer County.