Kids at Rhinelander schools celebrated winning awards in an aquatic invasive species poster contest Wednesday. The contest spans nine Northwoods counties…and asks kids to design a poster and slogan that spreads awareness of aquatic invasives.
Central Intermediate School fourth grade students Reagan Hartman and Elise Tesch took first and second place in their division.
“Well I drew a boat…and I wrote stop and pick off invasive species," Hartman explained.
Tesch described her piece: “It is a zebra mussel, trying to hitchhike on a boat. And it says don’t pick up aquatic invasive hitchhikers, even if they’re cute.”
Oneida County Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator Michele Sadauskas says the contest is a hands-on way to get kids thinking about the environment.
“Getting children and students involved at a young age, it’s something they will kind of grow into. It kind of builds that stewardship at a very young age, for our lakes and rivers and wetlands up here – which are really important.”
Plus she says the posters are great educational material for teams trying to get the word out about invasive species.
Both students Elise and Reagan say they didn’t know much about invasive species before working on the posters. But now they have a pretty good understanding what people should be doing to prevent them from spreading.
“I want them to look at their boat before they go into the water; and drain off their live well after, so they don’t have any invasive species on their boat," Tesch said.
“I want them, when they’re done boating, to take the invasive species off their boat, and not bring the invasive species to another lake," Hartman agreed.
A James William Middle School student took first in another division of the contest, and Rhinelander students took home lots of honorable mentions. Other winners were from Hurley, Mellen and Poplar. The posters will be part of a traveling art exhibit at local libraries and other public places through the month of June.