Students raise litter awareness through art
Solutions to large problems can often come from unexpected sources. Solving the enormous litter problem may have started with a group of artistic and ambitious youngsters from the across the state as part of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s 22nd annual Trash Poster Contest, which rewards students for their outstanding artwork raising awareness for litter.
This year’s top-winning poster, chosen as the 2013 Promotional Display Poster of the Year, is a map of all the counties in Oklahoma bearing the slogan, “77 Reasons to Keep Oklahoma Clean.” Created by 6th-grader Sara Eaton of Pocola Middle School, the poster was selected out of approximately 12,000 entries.
All 13 winners of the statewide contest were honored Wednesday at a luncheon at the R.A. Ward Transportation Building in Oklahoma City. Also attending the luncheon were the artists’ parents and teachers, along with contest sponsors, Trash Poster Contest committee members and other guests.
Winning posters that will appear in the 2014 Trash Poster Calendar include a drawing of a taco saying “I think we need to taco ‘bout trash,” a tearful Native American pleading “Don’t turn our grand land into a wasteland” and a helpful owl volunteering to help pick up trash saying “Owl do it!”
Each state poster winner received a monetary award of $250, $150 or $100 for first, second or third place. The Promotional Display Poster of the Year received a $200 award. All winners received a mounted reprint of their poster, a laminated placemat and a T-shirt bearing the design.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation Director Mike Patterson welcomed attendees to the gathering and talked about the importance of litter abatement. OKC Beautiful put on an interactive skit entitled “Mother Earth” about litter and recycling. Guests were also treated to a luncheon catered by Oklahoma’s Head Country BBQ.
Following the luncheon, the students were escorted to the state Capitol for introduction to the House of Representatives by Rep. Harold Wright (R-Weatherford), chairman, Conference Committee on Higher Education and CareerTech, on behalf of the Oklahoma Legislature. Students also received honor citations and had an opportunity to take photos with their respective representatives.
Approximately 45,000 copies of the 2014 Trash Poster calendar will be distributed in December to Oklahoma schools; libraries; city, county, state and federal agencies; civic organizations; businesses; and citizens. The Promotional Poster of the Year will be reprinted in full color, and 15,000 copies will be distributed statewide for display purposes.
Poster winners from each category are:
9th – 12th grade:
First – Amanda Gorman, 12th grade, Weatherford
Second – Jill Craighead, 12th grade, Weatherford
Third – Shealy Davis, 12th grade, Cushing
6th – 8th grade:
First – Olivia Anderson, 7th grade, Plainview
Second – Kaleigh Ross, 7th grade, Broken Bow
Third – Colten Pinegar Vazquez, 7th grade, Tulsa
3rd – 5th grade:
First – Thomas Buchanan, 3rd grade, Harrah
Second – Morgan Williams, 5th grade, Claremore
Third – Ashton Raymond, 4th grade, Piedmont
K – 2nd grade:
First – Connor Castleman, 2nd grade, Idabel
Second – Karsyn Struble, 2nd grade, Perry
Third – Austin Buchanan, 2nd grade, Waurika
Each sponsoring teacher for the first-, second- and third-place winning entries received a voucher for a two-day stay at an Oklahoma state park, courtesy of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department – Oklahoma State Parks. They also were presented with cash vouchers, provided by the Trash Poster Contest Committee, of $100, $75 or $50, respectively, to be used to purchase classroom art supplies.
“This contest is put on through a great partnership of government agencies, businesses and non-profit organizations. It’s fantastic that we can involve so many kids and reward them for their tremendous artwork while raising awareness at the same time.” Melody Johnson, ODOT Beautification Coordinator, said.
The 12 winning posters, along with dozens of other entries are posted for viewing in the ODOT lobby through April 30. Winners’ posters also can be viewed on ODOT’s website, www.okladot.state.ok.us. Click “Highway Beautification” and follow the “Poster Contest” link.
Contest sponsors include ODOT; OGE Energy Corporation; Oklahoma Employees Credit Union; Veolia Water; Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department – Oklahoma State Parks; Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority; Walmart; AEP – Public Service Company of Oklahoma; Oklahoma Chapter, Sierra Club; Oklahoma Rural Water Association; Solid Waste Institute of Northeast Oklahoma; Waste Research, Inc.; Keep Oklahoma Beautiful; Oklahoma Arts Council; Oklahoma Highway Safety Office; Oklahoma State Department of Education; Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
Next year’s contest begins Dec. 1 and has a Jan. 31, 2014, deadline. For more information about the contest contact the ODOT Beautification Office at 405-521-4037 or e-mail email@example.com.