PIERRE, S.D. — Larissa Stahl of Tabor, Sophie Dowling of Murdo and Connor Torkelson of Wanblee have been selected as the winning essayists in the 2018 Arbor Day Essay Contest. Sponsored by South Dakota’s conservation districts, McDonald’s Restaurants of South Dakota and South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA), the contest provides fifth and sixth grade students the opportunity to write about the importance of Arbor Day and tree planting in South Dakota. The Arbor Day Essay Contest has been held in South Dakota for 41 years. In 2018, more than 1,100 essays were submitted.
For their efforts, students win awards and cash prizes in addition to learning more about trees. As first place winner, Stahl will receive a plaque, $100 in cash and a McDonald’s lined jacket. Her school, Bon Homme Colony School, will receive $150 for the purchase of supplies or equipment. Dowling, the second place winner, will receive a plaque and $75 cash. Torkelson will receive a plaque and $50 for his third place essay.
Stahl, Dowling and Torkelson will read their essays and receive their prizes during special Arbor Day celebrations in their hometown areas. All students who entered the contest also received a McDonald’s dessert certificate and a packet of tree seeds, courtesy the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, Resource Conservation and Forestry Division. For more information on this contest and to read the winning essays, please visit the SDDA’s website, sdda.sd.gov, and look under the “Happening Now” section.
South Dakota celebrates Arbor Day on the last Friday in April; in 2018, Arbor Day is April 27. Nebraska newspaper publisher J. Sterling Morton proposed the very first Arbor Day in 1872. On that first Arbor Day, over one million trees were planted in Nebraska.
Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect and preserve South Dakota agriculture for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at http://sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
— South Dakota Department of Agriculture
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