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Record number of schools enter in Keep Montana Green art contest

LEWISTOWN, Mont. – Wildlife, trees and Montana scenes illustrated the need for wildfire prevention using a variety of slogans and designs in the 2017 Keep Montana Green art contest.

“We had more schools than ever before in our region participate in this year’s contest,'” said Clive Rooney, Area Manager of the DNRC Northeastern Land Office in Lewistown, where the posters were judged. “We received 811 pieces of artwork from 31 teachers in 25 schools across our region, which is made up of 13 counties, for this year’s art contest.”

The Keep Montana Green Association has sponsored 56 contests since 1961 with the mission of creating a lasting interest in preventing wildland fires in Montana’s youth, as well as adults.

“The art entries remind the public to be more careful with fire and fire-causing hazards while enjoying the state’s forests, campgrounds and rangelands, as well as in everyday life,” said Rooney. “If these prevention efforts help eliminate just one fire, which helps saves homes, rangeland and money, then they are well worth it.”

Each year, Montana DNRC and Keep Montana Green Association ask Kindergarten through 12th grade students to participate in the annual contest.

The theme, “One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire,” and the Keep Montana Green organization provide educators with a curriculum for teaching students about fire safety, prevention and conservation, said Tim Crosmer, East Side Training Officer for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) Fire Bureau. Crosmer helps coordinate the Keep Montana Green art contest in the DNRC Northeastern Land Office.

The art entries are first judged regionally where first, second, third and honorable mention placings are decided. Then, those entries are sent to Missoula, Mont., to be judged with five other regions’ winners. The state winners receive ribbons, cash prizes and statewide recognition, explained Crosmer.

“Our central and northeastern Montana area schools have had a strong showing in the state contest for the past several years,” said Rooney. “We wish to praise the students for their outstanding artwork and creativity, and also their teachers for taking the time to incorporate the Keep Montana Green Art Contest into their daily lessons.”

Twenty-three of 811 entries submitted to the Northeastern Land Office will be considered for prizes at the state level. State winners will be announced in April.

“Having 811 entries from 25 schools is awesome, and clearly demonstrates the teachers’ support and commitment to wildfire education,” said Crystal Beckman, Executive Director of the Keep Montana Green Association from Missoula, Mont. “Thank you to everyone who participated.”

The student-created artwork and posters help increase public awareness of the dangers of human-caused wildland fires. The artwork and posters may be used to generate advertisements, brochures and other promotional products, Beckman explained.

“The Keep Montana Green artwork could be used for billboards, sent out as a traveling art show and/or used for other wildfire prevention messaging promo products,” she said. “We also post the winning posters on our Web site, Facebook page and Twitter, as well as utilize them in a Keep Montana Green calendar for the upcoming year to share the wildland fire prevention message across Montana and beyond.”

The 2017 northeastern regional Montana winners include:

Primary Division, Kindergarten-3rd grades: 1st place – Cassie Daychild of Kim Russette’s third grade class at Rocky Boy Elementary School, Box Elder; 2nd place – Greg Sears, also of Russette’s second grade class; 3rd place – Stockton Stroh of Shelly Willmore’s  third grade class at Roy Public School; and honorable mentions – Ariana Standing Rock of Russette’s third grade class, Griffith Owen of Beth Kirsch’s third grade class at Highland Park Elementary School in Lewistown, and Amanda Mosby of Willmore’s second grade class.  

Intermediate Division, 4th-6th grades: 1st place – Scott Woods of Jackie Lipp’s sixth grade class at Havre Middle School; 2nd place – Olivia Albrecht also of Lipp’s sixth grade class; 3rd place – Kyler Bender of Lipp’s sixth grade class; and honorable mentions – Emmie Lines and Larissa Hawley of Danielle Parsons’ sixth grade class at Havre Middle School, and Deion Lefdahl of Matt Greuner’s sixth grade class at Hinsdale School.

Junior Division, 7th-9th grades: 1st place – Kacee Gordon of Krystal Ferguson’s eighth grade class at Lewistown Junior High School; 2nd place – Hannah Franz also of Ferguson’s eighth grade class; 3rd place – Dylan Brown of Kelly Downing’s seventh grade class at Saco Public School; and honorable mentions – Connor Manning and Andres Lopez of Ferguson’s eighth grade class and Rhett Patnode of Joann Berry’s seventh grade class at Moore Public Schools.

Senior Division, 10th-12th grades: 1st place – Chelysa Owens-Cyr of Vivian Schultz’s 12th grade class at Wolf Point High School; 2nd place – Paisley Ferdina of Schultz’s 10th grade class, 3rd place – Lizzy Mentzer of Douglas Braulick’s 10th grade class at Fergus High School; and honorable mentions – Rachael Simons of Willmore’s 10th grade class and Chandlor Garfield of Schultz’s 11th grade class.

Headquartered in Missoula, the Keep Montana Green Association sponsors the annual art and poster contest in coopera­tion with the DNRC.

“Thank you to all the participants and their teachers for making Keep Montana Green’s wildfire prevention program such a success,” said Beckman. “Be sure to keep up-to-date on all things wildfire prevention and Keep Montana Green through Facebook at, our Web site at or Twitter at @KeepMTGreen.”