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2017 Contest

How Can You Reduce Your Waste to Save Our Space?

In recognition of Earth Day, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Alec Messina is honoring a group of creative fifth and sixth grade students selected for their skills used to express environmental awareness, as part of the Agency’s 30th Annual Poster, Poetry and Prose Contest. The writers and artists selected from throughout Illinois were recognized today at a reception in the Old State Capitol building in downtown Springfield.

Each year, fifth and sixth grade students in Illinois take part in the Poster, Poetry and Prose contest as part of the Agency’s Environmental Pathways program.  Through the program, participating schools study environmental concepts with a particular emphasis on the current year’s environmental theme. Many teachers round out the classroom program by having the students create posters or poetry/prose works to illustrate what they have learned, and submit these to the Agency. Each participating school is eligible to select four works in each of these categories to submit for competitive judging. This year’s theme, How Can You Reduce Your Waste to Save Our Space? focused on the importance of reducing, reusing, recycling and composting instead of contributing to the waste in our landfills.

“Today is a great day to recognize the work of these students as we also celebrate Earth Day,” said Director Messina. “We have made great strides in accelerating environmental progress since the first earth day, and we look to our young people to continue that progress.  I congratulate each of our winners for their hard work in demonstrating the importance of reducing waste.”

Poetry/Prose Top Award Winners:

Annaliese Dorchinecz

St. Cletus School          

Yadhira-Isabel Gonzalez

The Willows Academy

Natalie Kowalkowski

Washington Elementary School

Sarah Phan

Washington Elementary School

Tommy Robaczewski

St. Monica Academy

David Torres

Schubert Elementary School

Posters Top Award Winners:

Daniel Esho

Washington Elementary School

Andre Larios

Washington Elementary School

Robert Los

Washington Elementary School          

Abby Schuler

St. Cletus School

Laruen Tapper

University of Chicago Laboratory School

Annalise Williams

Countryside School

A panel of representatives from the Illinois EPA judged all entries and selected the finalists, whose entries were then judged by an outside panel of authorities, to determine the top 12 winners.

The students, their families, and teachers were invited to today’s awards ceremony and reception, where the top 12 and honorable mention winners received environmental reference books for their school libraries. The winners, along with all finalists, also received certificates and ribbons for their creative efforts. In addition to the awards, tours of the Old State Capitol were given to winners and guests before and after the awards ceremony.

A complete list of winners can be found here. The winning entries will be on exhibit at Illinois EPA’s headquarters in Springfield through May 22 .

Information about the annual event can be obtained by contacting Kristi Morris, Environmental Education Coordinator for the Illinois EPA at 1021 North Grand Avenue East, P.O. Box 19276, Springfield, IL, 62794-9276, or