Two from Iola, one from Ottawa garner state honors

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. -- Wildlife Forever has announced the winners of the 2005 State-Fish Art Contest. Winning entries from each state were selected by a panel of judges in three grade categories: 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. The Kansas winner in the 4-6 grade category was Ann Powell of Iola. In the 7-9 grade category, Rebekah Gieringer of Ottawa took home the honors, and Dean Barksdale of Iola won in the 10-12 grade category.

Judges for the 2005 State-Fish Art Contest were Larry Horn of The Art Institutes International Minnesota, Mark LaBarbera of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Kelly Gohman of the North American Fishing Club, Eric Gislason of Kent Hrbek Outdoors and Kevin Robb of Mall of America.

Contest winners will be invited to the 7th Annual State-Fish Art Expo at Mall of America on July 2. A massive art display in the Mall's Sam Goody Central rotunda will feature all the outstanding artwork from across the country, and an awards ceremony will recognize the young artists before a large mall crowd.

Each young artist will receive a special gift certificate for art supplies from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff plus fishing gear from Rapala. In addition, artists and their families attending the Expo will receive free entry to the Metrodome to watch the Minnesota Twins face the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on July 3. The artists and their artwork will be recognized in a special pre-game ceremony on the playing field.

An outstanding entry in the 2005 State-Fish Art Contest will be reproduced as a conservation stamp. Proceeds from the stamp will be used to fund conservation projects across America.

The Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest is held annually. To enter the contest, young artists and angling enthusiasts create an illustration of their respective state fish and a written composition on its behavior, habitat, and efforts to conserve it. (Because Kansas has no official state fish, Kansas entrants use the channel catfish.) Educators nationwide have employed the full-color State-Fish Art Lesson Plan to teach both art and aquatic biology. The entry deadline for the State-Fish Art Contest is March 31 of each year.

For information on the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest or to download a free lesson plan, visit , phone Brett Richardson at 763-253-0222, or email . Digital copies of artwork are available upon request.