During Utah’s winter months, Holladay residents have little reason for concern over fires in the snowy forests of our Wasatch Mountain Range. So why would Smokey the Bear be making a surprise visit to some of Holladay’s young students? To honor those with a deep interest in keeping our forests safe from fires and to acknowledge those with a passion for the land.
On Jan. 29, Connie MacKay from the National Gardens Club, Inc., from the National Forest Service Ranger Reid Shelley and Smokey the Bear traveled to four different schools in the Holladay area to present certificates to students who participated in their annual Smokey the Bear and Woodsey the Owl Poster Contest.
Students participated in the contest because of their deep interest in being stewards of the land and wildfire prevention. And while some students’ artwork will move on to the regional contest, all who participated received certificates of appreciation for participating in the event.
“Utah’s participation in the national contest was much better than usual,” MacKay, the contest chair, said. “As a former educator, I recognize the importance of the concepts being presented and the excellent plans that have been written by the Forest Service paralleling and supporting the core curriculum concepts.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service and the National Garden Clubs, Inc. host this national contest to promote the understanding of basic environmental conservation and forest fire prevention principles. The contest began in 1961 and is voluntary, providing an opportunity for students to showcase their understanding of conservation through original drawings featuring Smokey the Bear and Woodsey the Owl.
“The teachers and youth leaders that chose to participate in this program also recognized the importance of supporting these concepts,” MacKay said.
This year, students from six schools along the Wasatch Front participated, four of which are located in the Holladay area: Morningside Elementary, Crestview Elementary, Spring Lane Elementary and H.R. Driggs Elementary.
Posters from each grade were chosen to move on to represent Utah in the Rocky Mountain Regional Contest where one will be chosen to move on to the national competition in Washington, D. C. The students in Holladay whose posters were selected for the regional contest are:
Spring Lane Elementary
Scott Mascaro and Addie Blodgett Morningside Elementary
Elsa McPhie and Naomi Smith
H.R. Driggs Elementary
Anders Kristensen also submitted a sculpture for the fourth to eighth grade sculpture recycle competition.
“This was the first time that a recycle sculpture was submitted from Utah,” MacKay said.
The national contest will be held in late spring and the winner will receive a trip for four to Washington, D.C.