The Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association (WI Land+Water) hosted its 68th Annual Conservation Conference virtually on March 2-5, 2021. The youth speeches are always the highlight of the conference and usually kick-off the WI Land+Water conference. This year, with a virtual conference, the Youth Education Committee hosted its 64th Annual Conservation Awareness Poster and Speaking Contest and first virtual competition.

Students from across Wisconsin submitted their speeches about relevant conservation topics, and these were judged prior to the start of the conference. WI Land+Water Association members and guests were able to view the first-place winning speeches and vote on the conservation posters that were displayed on the virtual conference platform.

Poster Contest

The conservation poster awareness theme this year was “Healthy Forests=Healthy Communities.” For the poster contest, the first-place winner 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 2022.

Poster Contest Winners

Primary Division (Grades K-1)

First Place: Kamden Freund, Portage County
Second Place: Mackenna Herrild, Sauk County
Third Place: Louise Witt, Douglas County

Elementary Division (Grades 2-3)

First Place: Flynn Bushman, Shawano County
Second Place: Preston Christianson, Portage County
Third Place: Kallie Sadler, Sauk County

Middle Division (Grades 4-6)

First Place: Olivia Cordeiro, Ozaukee County
Second Place: Rylee Olson, Monroe County
Third Place: Laurena Sauer, Clark County

Junior Division (Grades 7-9)

First Place: Madeline Fuller, Outagamie County
Second Place: Aliya Cynor, Shawano County
Third Place: Robert Merklein, Washington County

Senior Division (Grades 10-12)

First Place: Sophia Roth, Green County
Second Place: Grace Bergeron, Brown County
Third Place: Ahnna Bautch, Trempealeau County

Full Poster Gallery

See all of the poster contest entries on our Flickr gallery.

View Gallery

“"It is encouraging to know that students took the time to research and speak out about compelling conservation topics and took the time to share their viewpoints on how healthy forests=healthy communities.”

Speaking Contest

The first-place winning speakers from the elementary, junior and senior divisions were viewed by over 400 conservation professionals and guests from across the state. 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.

Elementary Division

First place: Caydie Thompson, Trempealeau County, “Live at 6-Interview with a Homeless Prairie Chicken”
Second place: Malia Szews, Oneida County, “Susie’s Quest”
Third place: Keewin Wilson, Iron County, “Help Save Our World-Fight Climate Change”

Junior Division

First place: Joseph Jarrell, Washburn County, “Healthy Forest, Healthy You”
Second place: Emelia Berg, Pierce County, “Eastern Whippoorwill”
Third Place: N/A

Senior Division

First place: Paige Lietz, Marquette County, “Not so Boring News?”
Second place: Gabriel Traicoff, Barron County, “Our Home and Climate Change”
Third place: Annika Waltenberg, Portage County, “Invasive, Evil, Delicious”