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Statewide Winners Announced in Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest

Twelve schoolchildren have been announced as statewide winners in the Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest.

Winning entries by Arnold Elementary's Gabrielle Perry, left, and Oglethorpe Ave. Elementary's Lyla Maldonado Wells / Ga DNR

About 1,400 kindergarten through fifth-grade students from 18 public, private and homeschool groups took part in the 33rd annual conservation art competition held by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.

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Statewide winners in the four grade divisions include:

Division 1: Kindergarten  

  • First: Mia Sims, Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary, Athens
  • Second: Lawson Fuller, First Baptist Academy, Covington
  • Third: Silas O’Neal, Mountain View Elementary, Ellijay

Division 2: First-second grades 

  • First: Gabrielle Perry, Arnold Elementary, Jonesboro
  • Second: George Wheeler, Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary, Athens
  • Third: Leyana Amezqua, High Meadows School, Roswell

Division 3: Third-fourth grades

  • First: Lyla Maldonado Wells, Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary, Athens
  • Second: Katherine Caldwell, Timothy Road Elementary, Athens
  • Third: Gemma Fletcher, homeschool, Marietta

Division 4: Fifth grade

  • First: Jayden Mulamoottil, Athens Academy, Athens
  • Second: Gabriela Davila, Frances Meeks Elementary, Richmond Hill
  • Third: Juli Eickholt, Timothy Road Elementary, Athens

Participants entered at the local school level with drawings and paintings of native Georgia plants and animals depicting the 2022-23 contest theme “Wildlife Tales: True or False?” Students were encouraged to research commonly held beliefs about wildlife to determine if those beliefs were true and not a myth or misconception. The students then represented those findings in their artwork.

Entries were judged on aspects such as theme relevance, originality and the quality and impact of the artwork. First-place school-level entries proceeded to the state contest at the State Botanical Garden, a unit of Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Winning submissions are showcased on the DNR Wildlife Resources Division’s SmugMug site at

The State Botanical Garden is a home to a variety of collections, displays, trails and programs designed to delight and educate teachers, children and the public. The garden also administers the Connect to Protect program, which emphasizes that even small native-plant installations can help maintain biodiversity in urban and suburban landscapes. Learn more at or call (706) 542-1244. This public garden is a gift to visitors and Georgia residents; therefore, parking and admission are free.

The Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest is sponsored by the DNR Wildlife Resources Division, the State Botanical Garden and The Environmental Resources Network, or TERN, friends group of DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section. For more information, visit

Georgians can support important conservation, recreation and education efforts as well as other programs for Georgia’s nongame wildlife by purchasing or renewing a bald eagle or monarch butterfly license plate or donating directly to the Wildlife Conservation Section. This agency depends largely on fundraisers for its mission to conserve wildlife, native plants and natural habitats. Learn more at and


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