Youth Education Committee Hosts 63rd Annual Conservation Awareness Poster and Speaking Contests

March 11, 2020 |

GREEN BAY - The Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association (WI Land+Water) Youth Education Committee hosted the 63rd Annual Conservation Awareness Poster and Speaking Contest at the KI Convention Center on March 4, 2020. Students from across Wisconsin presented speeches about relevant conservation topics and posters were displayed with a conservation theme about pollinators. The contest was part of WI Land+Water’s 67th Annual Conservation Conference. Members of the Youth Education Committee and volunteers from County Land Conservation Departments judged the speaking contest, and all 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 460 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 2021. The conservation poster awareness theme this year was “Where would we BEE without Pollinators.”

Trina Soyk, Fish and Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 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, exemplifying their passion for 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, WI Land+Water Executive Director. “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.”

Soyk 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.

“I was absolutely blown away by the content and caliber of the student speeches; they chose relevant, important conservation topics and delivered the information just brilliantly,” said Trina Soyk, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist. “It was so refreshing to see members of a younger generation caring about, researching, and speaking out on conservation issues. Land, water, and animals can’t speak for themselves, we need more of these amazing individuals.”

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:

  • “BEE a Cheerleader” by Briella Brusveen from Columbia County, discussed the importance of pollinators in all aspects of our lives;
  • “Rusty Patched Bumble Bee” by Gabriella Gruber from Pepin County discussed this unique bee species and their regional importance to the environment and ecosystem stability;;
  • “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” by Annika Waltenberg from Portage County, highlighted the importance of pollinators in our landscapes and food sources.


Elementary Division

  • First place: Briella Brusveen, Columbia County, “BEE a Cheerleader”;
  • Second place: Joseph Jarrell, Washburn County, “Wetlands”;
  • Third place: Kaylee Cornelius, Oneida County, “Penelope and the Plastic Ring.”

Junior Division

  • First place: Gabriella Gruber, Pepin County, “Rusty Patched Bumble Bee”;
  • Second place: Charis Headrick, Vilas County, “Protecting Our Pollinators”;
  • Third Place: Thomas Jarrell, Washburn County, “Jumping Worms: Let’s Jump Into It”

Senior Division

  • First place: Annika Waltenberg, Portage County, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”;
  • Second place: Ben Larson, Sawyer County, “Chronic Wasting Disease”
  • Third place: Paige Lietz, Marquette County, “Wisconsin’s CWD Crisis”


Primary Division (K-1)

  • First Place: Lydia Feucht, Dodge County;
  • Second Place: Jack Goers, Shawano County;
  • Third Place: Eve Heidenreich, Trempealeau County.

Elementary Division (2-3)

  • First Place: Naia Sandberg, Vernon County;
  • Second Place: Cora Parchim, Marinette County;
  • Third Place: Ava Schilz, Washington County.

Middle Division (4-6)

  • First Place: Timmy Camerson, Dodge County;
  • Second Place: Katelynn McNelly, Portage County;
  • Third Place: Alexa Hickman, Fond du Lac County.

Junior Division (7-9)

  • First Place: Sofia Roth, Green County;
  • Second Place: Emily Peters, Marinette County;
  • Third Place: Ava Leirmo, Dunn County.

Senior Division (10-12)

  • First Place: Lexi Oestreich, Clark County;
  • Second Place: Clarissa Sprangers, Outagamie County;
  • Third Place: Eva Rosenberg, Ozaukee County.


To view the published press release, click here

For event pictures, visit

For more information about the contest, click here

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