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State-Fish Art Contest Receives “Rise To The Future” Award For Excellence in Public Awareness

Wildlife Forever
Brooklyn Center, MN - The U.S. Forest Service presented the 2016 "Rise to the Future" award to Karen R. Hollingsworth, State-Fish Art Manager, during the official Awards Ceremony on the Whitten Patio at the U.S. Department of Aquiculture. Also accepting the honor was Douglas Grann, President & CEO of Wildlife Forever.

Thomas Tidwell, Chief, and Deputy Chief, Leslie Weldon, recognized Hollingsworth’s leadership and management of the State-Fish Art program. She has transformed the annual competition by expanding student entries worldwide, creating a K-3 entry category, adding new awards, fostering new partnerships (federal, state, corporate) and developing strategies to engage new and underserved communities.

Hollingsworth stated, "I worry that children growing up without outdoor experiences and memories may become adults for whom conserving the environment is not a priority. We owe it to our planet to provide tools for conservation education. To me, ART is one of the most powerful vehicles sparking imagination and learning."

The State-Fish Art program started in 1999 as a child’s homework assignment and has grown to become an annual nationwide art competition teaching aquatic conservation through the arts. The competition is free to children worldwide in grades K – 12.

Karen’s conservation education efforts are long-term. In the past five years more than 20,000 students have entered the contest. She has more than doubled entries and developed foreign country participation through the internet. The scope of her work can also be seen in the creation of the "Invader Crusader" Award, recognizing students for Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) awareness.

"Karen Hollingsworth has made a significant advance in awareness and understanding of fish and fishing in the youth of America" said Grann. "She is one of the first to use art as the learning tool to teach aquatic education. We are proud of Karen’s success."

About the State-Fish Art Contest:
The Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art® Contest is in its 18th year bringing children, art and aquatic conservation together. To enter, young artists create an original illustration of any official state-fish and write one page detailing its behavior, habitat, and efforts to conserve it. Entries are categorized in four grade levels: K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Educators nationwide utilize Fish On!, the full-color State-Fish Art Lesson Plan, integrating the disciplines of science and art. It is available on CD, at no charge, and for download. Entries must be postmarked by March 31st each year. To view the 2016 winning images and the 2017 contest details visit