Every year the Keep Montana Green Association holds a poster art contest and this year, Superior School’s Abigail Wheeler was the regional winner. She won in the intermediate division which is grades 4 through 6 for her poster.
The theme this year was: Prepare, Prevent, and Protect. The sixth- grader came up with the idea of a red tanker plane fighting a forest fire.
“A couple of years ago, a wildfire burned the forest on the mountains by our house. We could see the flames and smoke from our windows,” said Abigail on how she came up with the ideas. “Helicopters and planes frequently flew overhead trying to put out the spreading wildfire. A few years before that, a different wildfire burned a large area close to our school, and the air was smoky and almost unbreathable. I have experienced wildfires and know what they are like.”
The statewide winners will be judged on March 20 and announced on March 22. All three regional winners in the primary division which is kindergarten through third grade were from West Elementary in Butte. The second place winner in Abigail’s division was also from West Elementary and third place was from Helmville.
Junior division winners were from Drummond, and Darby and all three winners in the senior division were from Victor. The entry deadline was Feb. 22 and prize money is awarded to state winners. The grand prize is $125; first place division winners receive $100; second place division winners get $75; and third place state division winners receive $50.
The artwork was judged on originality, design, slogan, artwork and prevention message. Posters were judged by six Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) Land Offices. In addition to the cash prizes, winners also receive ribbons along with honorable mention winners and everyone received a Certificate of Participation.
Keep Montana Green is currently celebrating 58 years of art and wildfire prevention, “each year, participants generate amazing ideas and impressive artwork that promotes Keep Montana Green’s mission of preventing human-caused wildfires.”
Winners will also be recognized during Wildlife Awareness Month in May. The contest is promoted from October until the February deadline and is sponsored by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Land offices. There are a number of divisions including Audio Visual as well as a computer generated division both open to all grades. Along with the grade divisions and special education divisions.
The Keep Montana Green Association offers a wide variety of resources for citizens, fire professionals, and teachers on fire prevention. That includes tips for outdoor recreation and campfires, motorized vehicles and learning about fire restrictions and closures. There is also information about safety procedures and open burning and a variety of educational resources from kindergarten through high school.
This includes the “Take Action” campaign: Teens for Wildfire Safe Communities, which provides resources and projects that benefit young adults. Teens, their families and community members can get involved through projects or do community service projects that reduces wildfire risks, or post-fire impacts like flooding and mudslides. Information regarding this and other programs are available at keepgreen.org.