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Maryland Forest Service Names 2024 Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners

Comptroller Brooke Lierman joins DNR as guest judge

Illustration of a river in a wooded area

This illustration by Edison Lee of Rockford Elementary School in Elkridge, Howard County won first place in the 2024 Maryland Fifth Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest.

The top three prizes have been awarded for the 2024 Maryland Fifth Grade Arbor Day poster contest, sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Maryland Comptroller Brooke E. Lierman joined DNR Secretary Josh Kurtz and staff to review submissions and award three Maryland schools with tree plantings this spring. 

Edison Lee of Rockburn Elementary School in Elkridge, Howard County won first place and the school will receive 15 trees for planting. Second place, with a prize of 10 trees, was awarded to Riya Dholakia of Emmorton Elementary School in Bel Air, Harford County. Grace Birch of Chesapeake Public Charter School in Lexington Park, St. Mary’s County won third place and a prize of five trees.

Photo of two people with  posters on easels

Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman and Secretary of Natural Resources Josh Kurtz stand with the three top prize-winning entries to the 2024 Fifth Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest. Photo by Anthony Burrows, Maryland DNR.

“Conserving resources and improving our state for the next generation should be a key focus for all of us. I’m grateful to be able to uplift the work of our young people who understand the importance of nature and trees,” Comptroller Lierman said. “I want to thank the Department of Natural Resources and the Forestry team for their continued efforts to support our next generation in learning about the importance of taking care of our planet. I also want to applaud our young Marylanders for expressing their love for the environment through colorful, imaginative works of art.”

Students created this year’s posters using various artistic techniques, illustrating this year’s contest theme, “Trees Are Terrific…in All Shapes and Sizes!” 

Each year, the Maryland Forest Service, in partnership with the Maryland Forest Conservancy District Boards, invites Maryland’s fifth graders to submit a poster following a yearly theme. Posters are first judged on a county level and the winner from each county is forwarded to the Maryland Urban and Community Forestry Committee to be included in the annual contest. The judging took place Wednesday afternoon at DNR headquarters in Annapolis. 

“This is a great way to get our students involved and advocating for trees and forests,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz. “As we continue our efforts to plant 5 million trees in Maryland by 2031, this year’s message that emphasizes how every tree is important rings particularly true.”