From a field of more than 400 entries, three Pulaski County students placed in the annual Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) Earth Day contest, and two additional Pulaski County youth received honorable mentions for their projects.

“The contest is an annual event intended to heighten the awareness of area youth of the importance of environmental issues and recycling, not just on Earth Day, but everyday,” ORSWMD Chairman Brady Wilson said. Wilson also serves as environmental services director for the City of Rolla.

This year, the district received some 300 entries into the poster category, some 101 entries into the trash art category and some 23 entries into the electronic art category. Awards and prizes are given in each category and are divided by grade level in the poster and trash art categories. This year’s theme was “Tomorrow’s Earth is Today’s Responsibility.”

“Of course, I want to congratulate the winners,” Wilson said. “We had a lot of great entries this year and it made the selection process very difficult.”

In Pulaski County, winning entries came from Crocker High School and Laquey Middle School students.

Crocker High School students recognized for projects include:

• Ian Fraski, first place tie in the high school division of the trash art contest;

• Katelyn Fraski, first place tie in the high school division of the trash art contest; and

• Ian Fraski, honorable mention in the electronic art contest.

Laquey Middle School students recognized for projects include:

• Lydia Watson, first place in the seventh grade division of the poster art contest; and

• Megan Gerber, honorable mention in the seventh grade division of the poster art contest.

Participating teachers in Pulaski County included Katherine York, Laquey Middle School seventh grade social studies teacher, and Joyce Gruebel, Crocker High School art teacher.

Judges for the contest consisted of a combination of community members throughout the seven-county waste management district, ORWMD board members and Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) staff.

The judges for 2013 were Cheryl Dupes, Kelly Sink-Blair, Maria Bancroft, Nongluk Tunyavanich and Tammy Rigsby, MRPC staff; Josh Ashby, representing St. James Winery; James Morgan, ORSWMD member representing the City of Crocker; Cindy Jo Dworek, representing Community Bank of Owensville; Brady Wilson, ORSWMD board chairman and representing the City of Rolla; Lorri Loeffelman, representing Phelps County Bank; Keisha Pedro, representing Phelps County Bank; Ruth Whitaker, retired MRPC staff and Rolla resident; Joe Whitaker, Rolla resident; Janice Cunningham, representing Town and Country Bank.

The identities of the students and their schools were concealed during the judging process.

The Ozark Rivers District includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities with populations of 500 or more. The district's strategy for solid waste reduction, which has been individually adopted by all member governments and approved by MDNR, involves intense education and increased recycling efforts in member counties and cities.