Five Richland County students will see their artwork compete at the state level in this year’s conservation poster contest sponsored by the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District.

The contest asked students to illustrate the topic “Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities,” showing how diverse and abundant forests contribute to a healthy environment. Students’ artwork highlighted practices such as replanting trees after removing them, as well as ways to prevent water, air and soil pollution.

More than 85 students in five age groups submitted entries. First-place winners in each group progress to the state competition hosted by the S.C. Association of Conservation Districts this fall. Local contest winners are:

Kindergarten–First Grade

  • 1st place: Neveah Stein, first grade, Edward E. Taylor Elementary
  • 2nd place: Dyuthi Sudheer, first grade, A.C. Moore Elementary
  • 3rd place: Uriel Sanchez, first grade, Arden Elementary

Second–Third Grades

  • 1st place: Kayden Ashford-Reed, second grade, Edward E. Taylor Elementary
  • 2nd place: Gabriela Mixon, second grade, Cutler Jewish Day School
  • 3rd place: June Heyden, third grade, A.C. Moore Elementary; Madeleine Warren, third grade, A.C. Moore Elementary
  • Honorable mention: Elias Alvarado Lopez, third grade, L.W. Conder Elementary; Thomas Sabourin and Kylie Judy, second grade, Dutch Fork Elementary; Batya Marrus, second grade, Cutler Jewish Day School

Fourth–Sixth Grades

  • 1st place: Amiya Anderson, fourth grade, Bethel-Hanberry Elementary
  • 2nd place: Sa’Miyah Hall, fifth grade, Edward E. Taylor Elementary; Olivia Faure, fourth grade, Bethel-Hanberry Elementary
  • 3rd place: Akeelah Hussey, fifth grade, Edward E. Taylor Elementary
  • Honorable mention: Tracy Martel, fifth grade, Arden Elementary; Zabriyah Heatley-Goulbourne, fourth grade, Forest Heights Elementary

Seventh–Ninth Grades

  • 1st place: Addison Chamberlain, eighth grade, Longleaf Middle
  • 2nd place: Ariana Belleastin, eighth grade, Longleaf Middle
  • 3rd place: Jayden Dunn, eighth grade, Longleaf Middle

10th–12th Grades

  • 1st place: Madeline Dissinger, 12th grade, Spring Valley High School
  • 2nd place: Taylor Kohn, 11th grade, S.C. Association of Independent Home Schools

Trees reduce stormwater runoff, increase the soil’s ability to absorb and store water, and prevent soil erosion, leading to cleaner, healthier waterways and reduced flooding, according to a news release announcing the contest winners. South Carolina is 63% forested. Forestry and forest product industries provide more than 98,000 jobs and have a $21.2 billion impact on the state’s economy.

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