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JEFFERSON CITY, MO, AUG. 17, 2022 – Missouri State Parks is excited to announce the winners of its virtual youth art contest, Earth Day Art in Missouri State Parks! To celebrate Earth Day this year, Missouri State Parks sponsored a virtual art contest in April for youth pre-K through 8th grade.  

Nearly 600 young artists from across Missouri submitted artwork for the contest. The artwork submissions comprised a variety of media, including finger paintings, pencil sketches, watercolors, 3-D models and clay sculptures. A panel of judges from Missouri State Parks had the fun but difficult task of selecting the first-, second- and third-place winners, and two honorable-mention awards in five grade categories. Dru Buntin, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, selected the Director’s Choice Award grand prize winner. The winning artists are:

Pre-K and Kindergarten – 1st place: Benjamin Smoker of Kansas City; 2nd place - Blake Byington of Camdenton; 3rd place - Emma Mabry Israel of Saint Charles; honorable mention -  Gracie Portell of Cadet and Aurelia Westcott of Florissant.

First and Second Grades – 1st place: Gabriel Sedrick of Festus; 2nd place - Emberly Drury of Bloomsdale; 3rd place - Lena Massa of Crystal City; honorable mention - Sydney Smith of Lone Jack and Caleb Cullen of Lebanon.

Third and Fourth Grades – 1st place: Kwin Jarman of Wellington; 2nd place - Brooklyn Bovee of Nixa; 3rd place - Faith Dedson of Hillsboro; honorable mention - Patrick Harrison of Sedalia and Dawson Deere of Kingdom City.

Fifth and Sixth Grades – 1st place: Grace Robinson of St. Louis; 2nd place - Elynn Drury of Bloomsdale; 3rd place - Laila Underwood of Tiff; honorable mention - Madelynn Cole of Sedalia and Marley McGilchrist of Kansas City.

Seventh and Eight Grades – 1st place: Hana Brown of Camdenton; 2nd place - Reese Wildhaber of Union; 3rd place - Jenna Vandenberghe of Columbia; honorable mention - Helen Hervey of Union and Aida Fedenia of Columbia.

Director’s Choice Award: Lauren Geringer of Jackson.

First-, second- and third-place winners will receive medals. Artists in the Honorable Mention category will receive certificates. The Director’s Choice award winner will receive a $50 Missouri State Parks gift card. Winning artwork will be displayed on the Missouri State Parks Facebook and Flickr pages, and will be displayed at the Missouri State Museum in the Capitol during September.  

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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