The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center has announced the Texas division of Wildlife Forever's Fish Art Contest winners for 2021.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Fish Art Contest is part of an international conservation education program designed to foster youth interest in fish, fisheries, and fishing.
The program encourages students in kindergarten through 12th grade to submit original artwork of any officially designated state fish and an essay or poem about the participant's fish entry, its habitat, or efforts to conserve it, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said.
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"The State-Fish Art Contest does a tremendous job of exposing students across Texas to the wonders of fish and fisheries resources through the nexus of art," Tom Lang, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center Director, said. "We always look forward to this time of year when we are once again amazed by the outstanding work and artistic interpretations of these young Texans."
This year, judges at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center chose the top 12 out of 767 total entries from Texas students.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said these 12 works of art will be featured at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and in the 2022 Texas Fish Art Calendar.
In the kindergarten through 3rd-grade category, the first place winner was Lisa Hwang, of Garland. Ivan Zaklyazminskiy, of Frisco, won second place, and Laina Sidlik, of Richardson, won third place.
In the grades 4th through 6th categories, Grace Cao, of Sugar Land, won first place, Seha Jeong, of Lewisville, won second place, and Jaden Whisneant, of Silsbee, won third place.
In the 7th through 9th-grade category, Elise Akin, of Irving, won first place, Jaini Parekh, of Southlake, won second place, and Julia Jarmulak, of Roanoke, won third place.
In the 10th through 12th-grade category, Joshua Thomas, of Southlake, won first place, Michelle Huang, of Coppell, won second place, and Abigail Montgomery, of Dickinson, won third place.
First-place winners in each of the four age groups advanced to the national level and competed against winners from other states, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said.
Two Texas winners were announced as national winners by Wildlife Forever. Grace Cao's Guadalupe bass won second place in the nation for the fourth through 6th-grade category, and Lisa Hwang's bluegill won third place in the Kindergarten through 3rd-grade division.
To see the winning drawings from students in Texas, click here.
Wildlife Forever and the Western Native Trout Initiative awarded artwork representing western native trout. Alice Won's Yellowstone cutthroat trout won first place in the 7th through 9th-grade division. Seha Jeong's cutthroat trout won first place, and Celine Yin's Gila trout won third place, both in the 4th through 6th-grade division.
Scholarships for the first, second, and third-place Texas winners are provided by the 2020 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest.
Scholarships in the grades 10th through 12th division are $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place, and $500 for third place. Awards in the 4th through 6th-grade and 7th through 9th-grade levels are $200 for first, $150 for second, $100 for third.
In the kindergarten through 3rd-grade division, awards are $100 for first, $75 for second, $50 for third.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, scholarships for Texas winners are supplemented with additional support provided by the William E. Armentrout Foundation and Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.
"Sponsor support for the Texas contest has been a key factor in making it the biggest in the nation," Zoe Ann Stinchcomb, Texas coordinator, said. "The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center hosts a day of fishing, fun and recognition for the top forty winning students, their teachers and families. And each child participating in the Texas contest receives a certificate. All of this happens because of the support of our sponsors."
Honorable mentions for Texas students in kindergarten through 3rd-grade were awarded to Ryuki Hotta of Missouri City, Evelyn Lee of Frisco, Akshitha Muthaluru of Irving, Mishka Patel of Richmond, Claire Kim Pranivong of Dallas, Elizabeth Sun of Coppell, and Eric Xiao of Coppell.
Honorable mentions in 4th through 6th-grade were awarded to Cecilia Chen of Dallas, Taylor Davis of Coppell, April Hyun of Irving, Manini Punihani of Irving, Sabrina M. Tam of Irving, Ivory Vanover of Keller, and Celina Yin of Cedar Park.
Honorable mentions for 7th through 9th-grade were Olivia Dennis of Woodville, Diya Hegde of Irving, Sharanjeet Kaur of Vega, Nataliya Kuryshina of McKinney, Alanna Sun of Coppell, Rebecca Thomas of Southlake, Cindy Wang of Dallas, and Alice Won of Flower Mound.
Honorable mentions for 10th through 12th-grade were Lily Brooks of Longview, Mary Harutyunyan of Euless, Samuel Jung of McKinney, Teresa So of Sugar Land, Makinna Tibbetts of Warren, and Arwen Varner of Keller.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said teachers and educators who want to have their students enter the 2022 contest can find entry forms, rules, guidelines, and more online.