Utah Children Win 4 Of 6 National ‘Smokey Bear’ Awards

Aug 9, 2019, 8:56 PM | Updated: Aug 10, 2019, 10:08 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With over 13,000 entries from across the country, Utahns pulled off something that has never happened before. All five entries went on to win the Rocky Mountain Region and a majority of the national awards.

It’s a feat that has never been done before at the national level.

“It’s really been exciting. At the national conference they said, ‘How did Utah do that? You got four out of the six awards for Smokey the Bear,’” said Connie MacKay, president of the Utah-based Neighborhood Garden Club.”

The National Garden Clubs annual Smokey Bear Poster contest for 1st through 5th graders is a special opportunity for young children to share their creativity and knowledge about wildfire prevention. Entrants submit original drawings of Smokey Bear.

“It’s a great program because it gives them the opportunity to become part of their community and to promote things that benefit everyone, said Alison Jueschke, a teacher at Howard R. Driggs Elementary in Holladay.

In honor of Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday, the kids had tips to share with KSL viewers.

“People don’t realize that the danger of having a campfire just smoldering,” said Benjamin Fire, who was one of the regional winners.

“Put sand on their campfire & water,” said Ryan Woodbury , the national 1st grade winner.

Another regional winner, Lucy Adair, said you should, “do fireworks in a safe spot.”

The 2nd grade winner, Eleanor Pratt, said it’s important to do everything you can to use fire safely, because , “It burns down a lot of trees.”

Penny Atkinson, who won the 4th grade competition, was also the grand prize winner. She won a trip to Washington, DC where she will be honored in a recognition ceremony.

Overall, parents and teachers were extremely pleased with the effort these Utah children put forth.

“I was just so proud, and everyone there was,” said MacKay. “Aren’t they incredible?”

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Utah Children Win 4 Of 6 National ‘Smokey Bear’ Awards