Caledonia student earns special recognition

Emma Craig
Emma Craig

Emma Craig, a middle schooler in Caledonia, received special recognition from the 29th annual Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) “Roadsides Are for the Birds” poster contest.

Craig was bestowed the best pen/pencil award.

Seventh and eighth grade students from across the state participated in the program, which draws attenion to an important wildlife issue.

“The purpose of the contest,” said Carmelita Nelson, DNR prairie grassland coordinator at St. Paul, “is to help increase awareness of the growing importance of roadsides for wildlife, particularly for ground nesting birds. As wildlife habitat continues to disappear, roadsides nesting habitat is becoming more critical.”

Roadsides can provide bird-nesting habitat if mowing and other roadside disturbances are delayed until after the nesting season, usually around Aug. 1.

Bernadette Ruegemer of St. Robert Bellarmine Academy, Zach Coughlin of Proctor Middle School and Hannah Voight of Rocori Middle School were selected as first prize winners. Students from 14 schools entered works in this year’s contest.

Special recognition awards in the contest went to Craig, as well as:

Bernadette Ruegemer of St Robert Bellarmine Academy in St Cloud for biological accuracy.

Katarina Wilke of Rocori Middle School in Cold Spring for expression of theme.

Zach Coughlin of Proctor Middle School in Proctor for creative use of material.

Jayden Strand of Lynd Public School in Lynd for humor.

The Staff’s Choice Award went to Rhiannon Markegard of Lynd Public School.

Prizes and contributions for the contest were donated by Wildlife Heritage Association; Minnesota Pheasants, Inc.-Steele County; Pheasants Forever; Minnesota Waterfowl Association; National Camera Exchange, Golden Valley; and the DNR Roadsides Program. Ross Frame Shop and Universal Framing, both of Minneapolis, and The Frame Gallery of New Ulm, donated framing of the posters.

The three first prize winners will also have their work displayed during the Minnesota State Fair in the DNR building. Works of the top 40 prize winners will be displayed at the Minnesota Deer Classic and Sports Show at the new location in the National Sports Center in Blaine, March 7 through 9, 2014.