DEC. 14, 2011 -- To help Missouri's students learn about endangered species, like the colorful cerulean warbler (illustrated by Ray Winter at right) and the pink mucket, the Missouri Department of Conservation holds an annual contest in which students in kindergarten through grade 12 illustrate postcards with drawings of state endangered species or species of conservation concern.
This year, about 4,100 students from across the state created postcards depicting the theme, "River habitat—we gotta have it!" Schools sent their students' best efforts—a total of 674 cards—to be judged. Five talented students, including two from the St. Louis area, took first-place honors.
- Fourth-grader Ray Winter of St. Catherine Laboure' in St. Louis won in the 3rd-4th-grade category (his drawing is seen alongside this article).
- Eighth-grader Katie Heflin of Heflin Homeschool in St. Peters won the 7th-8th-grade category.
- First-grader Myles Hamacher of St. Francis Xavier in Jefferson City, Mo., won first place in the K-2nd- grade category.
- Sixth-grader Sydney Haistings of St. Paul's Episcopal Day School in Kansas City, Mo., took the top prize for the 5th-6th-grade category.
- Twelfth-grader Ryan Vernon of California High School in California, Mo., took first place in the 9th-12th-grade category.
"Participating students learned about Missouri's endangered species and the importance of sustaining healthy habitats," said the department's graphic designer and contest coordinator Marci Porter. "A lot of teachers really took advantage of the educational opportunities tied to this contest, which is what we ultimately hope for."
All five first-place winners will have their postcards printed and sold through the Missouri Department of Conservation Nature Shops.
View the top three entries from each grade category and get more information on the contest at www.mdc.mo.gov.