Youth Education Committee Hosts 62nd Annual Conservation Awareness Poster and Speaking Contests

March 19, 2019 |

LAKE GENEVA - The Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association (WI Land+Water) hosted its 66th Annual Conservation Conference at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva on March 13-16, 2019. As part of the conference, the WI Land+Water Youth Education Committee hosted the 62nd Annual Conservation Awareness Poster and Speaking Contest, where students from across Wisconsin presented speeches about relevant conservation topics and posters were displayed with a conservation theme about soil biology. Members of the Youth Education Committee and volunteers from County Land Conservation Departments judged the speaking contest and Association members voted on student posters.

The first-place winning speakers from the elementary, junior and senior divisions presented their speeches to a crowd of over 370 conservation professionals and guests from across the state at the conference’s opening luncheon. Speeches had to address a relevant, soil and water conservation issue, with emphasis on the impact of the issue in their locality or in 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 2020. The conservation poster awareness theme this year was “Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper.”

Eric Paulsen, Co-Host of Discover Wisconsin, 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, and their commitment to conservation.

“Starting the conference with the student posters and speeches energized the room by showing the importance and passion for responsible resource management is a part of Wisconsin’s ideals today and for generations to come,” said Matt Krueger. “We are amazed by all the students’ knowledge, passion, and sophistication about these environmental topics as we listen to the speeches and see the artwork on display. Thank you to all the students for your hard work and your commitment to protecting and conserving our natural resources.”

Paulsen delivered the closing remarks for the speaking contest by thanking the participants for the incredible amount of hard work they put into their speeches and posters. “It’s always a pleasure and privilege to emcee this portion of the conference, where the younger generation gets so passionately involved in discussing how to better use and conserve our natural resources,” said Eric Paulsen. “Their knowledge, passion, and dedication to the state’s healthy future is so impressive. Their speeches are dynamic and informative, showing a sophistication beyond what many may expect for their years on this planet. But with what they bring to the table, the years ahead for the state and planet look brighter.”

The conservation awareness poster and speaking contests are two of the many programs that our Youth Education Committee coordinates to educate and inspire Wisconsin’s youth about the importance of stewardship and caring for our natural resources.

The topics of the winning speeches were:

  • “Cover Crops” by Ashton Brusveen from Columbia County, discussing how cover crops are a healthy way to prevent runoff;
  • “Life Below the Soil” by Bailey Weisenbeck from Pepin County discussing how healthy soil is the key to healthy crops and the environment;
  • “Conservation Strategies for Extreme Rainfall Resilience in WI,” by Ansel Brenneman from Vernon County, highlighting the importance of conservation practices to address the effects of WI’s excessive rainfall events.


Elementary Division: First place: Ashton Brusveen, Columbia County, “Cover Crops”; Second place: Lily Graham, Trempealeau County, “No Bees, No Food”; Third place: Whitney Myers, Burnett County, “Tiny Spiny in the Lake.”

Junior Division: First place: Bailey Weisenbeck, Pepin County, “Life Below the Soil”; Second place: Sophia Filipczak, Bayfield County, “Asian Jumping Worm”; Third Place: Madeline Hensel, Wood County, “The Effects of Soil Erosion on Agriculture in Central WI”

Senior Division: First place: Ansel Brenneman, Vernon County, “Conservation Strategies for Extreme Rainfall Resilience in WI”; Second place: Kate Schraufnagel, Clark County, “Paper or Plastic?” Third place: Carlton Miller, Washburn County, “Up the Creek Without a Paddle”


Primary Division: (K-1) First Place: Adelaide Jessie, Trempealeau County; Second Place: Lelina Guzman, Buffalo County; Third Place: Adella Jacobs, Dodge County.

Elementary Division: (2-3) First Place: Promyse Meagher, Dodge County; Second Place: Winston Ogden, Winnebago County; Third Place: Naia Sandberg, Trempealeau County.

Middle Division: (4-6) First Place: Kelly Vizer, Oconto County; Second Place: Selah Drusinski, Burnett County; Third Place: Ben Cameron, Dodge County.

Junior Division: (7-9) First Place: Kjiersten Kazda, Portage County; Second Place: Parker Arntsen, Sawyer County; Third Place: Savanna Charron, Outagamie County.

Senior Division: (10-12) First Place: Brooke Webb, Clark County; Second Place: Alexia Weber, Dodge County; Third Place: Makayla Rodgers, Brown County.


For event pictures, visit

For more information about the contest, click here

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