Winners announced in South Dakota’s Arbor Day essay contest

KELO Pierre map locator South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Annika Tank received a plaque for finishing first in South Dakota’s contest for Arbor Day essays..

But that wasn’t all.

The Britton-Hecla Middle School student also won $150 for her school to purchase supplies and equipment and $125 for herself.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and the state’s conservation districts hosted the contest for fifth- and sixth-grade students to write why Arbor Day — April 26 — and tree planting are important.

Placing second was Grace Eastman of Tyndall, who received $100. In third was Emmy Newsam of Murdo, who received $75.

Read their essays at

All of the 988 students who entered the 42nd annual contest get packets of tree seeds.

Originality and creativity were worth up to 40 percent of students’ scores, while effectiveness and clarity accounted for up to 30 percent.

Spelling and punctuation, appropriateness of theme, accuracy, neatness and grammatical usage also counted.

Local conservation district panels did initial judging. Each picked a local winner that was provided for the state contest.

Each essay received a score of 1 to 10 for each of the seven categories.

The 2018 winners from more than 1,100 entries were Larissa Stahl of Tabor, Sophie Dowling of Murdo and Connor Torkelson of Wanblee.

Stahl also was a top finisher In 2017. Winners from 1,423 entries were Kalissa Mayclin of Mt. Vernon, Stahl and Maxwell Quinn of Faulkton.

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