Columbia, SC – Three Richland County students have been named state winners in a “Healthy Soil, Healthy Life” conservation poster contest sponsored by the South Carolina Association of Conservation Districts (SCACD). The students were winners of Richland County’s “Healthy Soil, Healthy Life” poster contest sponsored by the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (RSWCD) in 2022; their poster entries progressed to the state competition in January, 2023.
Talia Bowen is the state winner in the Grades K-1 division. Bowen, who was a kindergartener at Arden Elementary School when she submitted her winning “Healthy Soil, Healthy Life” 2022 poster entry, is now in first grade. Her entry to the 2023 conservation poster contest, titled “One Water,” was recently awarded first place in the local competition and will progress to the state competition this winter.
Eisley Jean Cartzendafner is the state winner in the Grades 4-6 division. Cartzendafner was a fifth grader at Edward E. Taylor Elementary when she completed her winning entry and is now in sixth grade at Carolina School for Inquiry. She enjoys singing, art, video animation and spending time in nature.
Both Bowen’s and Cartzendafner’s artwork was sponsored by art teacher George Sims, who has been an art in Richland One for 28 years and splits his time between multiple schools, including Arden Elementary and Edward E. Taylor Elementary.
“I love art,” Sims says, noting that his own interest in artistic expression was ignited when he won a fire prevention awareness poster contest sponsored by the Columbia Fire Department in first grade. “Ever since then, I’ve been drawing.”
Sims has a long history of producing winners in the Conservation Poster Contest, with his students receiving more than 27 awards from the RSWCD over the past decade. When asked why he fosters student participation in art contests such as these, Sims says “it’s all related to knowing your community, knowing your environment, and being a good citizen. These contests also create opportunities for thematic work that touches on, not just art, but all of the content areas.”
Sarah Alyssa Hernandez is the state winner in the Grades 7-9 division. Hernandez was a ninth grader at Spring Valley High School when she entered the poster contest and is now in tenth grade. She is enrolled in the Explorations Magnet Program, is a member of the Spring Valley Signers American Sign Language Club, and plans to intern with Pawmetto Lifeline this summer.
Hernandez’s ninth grade science teacher, Melissa Dissinger, sponsored her entry in the poster contest. “It’s important for students to be aware of what’s going on in their environment,” says Dissinger. “The poster contest provides a great opportunity for students to explore environmental topics, and an authentic way for them to show others what they’ve been learning.”
All three students will receive cash prizes from SCACD.
The Youth Conservation Poster Contest is an annual education program hosted nationally by the National Association of Conservation Districts and at the state and local levels by SCACD and RSWCD, respectively.
Conservation Districts are subdivisions of state government under the local direction of five-member boards of commissioners. RSWCD’s mission is to promote the wise use and care of natural resources--with a focus on soil and water--for long-term sustainability in a changing environment. Richland County supports RSWCD’s work with staff and other resources.
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Conservation Districts are political subdivisions of state government under the local direction of five-member Boards of Commissioners. In South Carolina, Conservation District boundaries conform to County boundaries. The Richland Soil and Water Conservation District promotes the wise use and care of natural resources for long-term sustainability. Richland County supports the work of the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District with staff and other resources.
Richland Soil and Water Conservation District
2020 Hampton Street, Room 3063A
Columbia, SC 29204
Phone (803) 576-2080
Fax (803) 576-2088