​Fight Food Waste: Our Environment Can't Be Replaced!

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director, John J. Kim, recognized the creativity and hard work of fifth and sixth grade students selected for their artistic and writing skills used to express environmental awareness, as part of the Agency's 34th Annual Poster, Poetry and Prose Contest. The winners were selected from works submitted by students throughout Illinois. All entries were submitted virtually this year to help accommodate students that are participating in online learning due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Each year, fifth and sixth grade students in Illinois take part in the Poster, Poetry and Prose contest as part of the Agency's Environmental Education initiative. Through the program, participating schools study environmental concepts with an emphasis on the current year's environmental theme. Many teachers round out the classroom program by having the students create posters or poetry/prose works to illustrate what they have learned and submit these to the Agency. This year's theme, Fight Food Waste: Our Environment Can't Be Replaced! focused on understanding food waste diversion options, how it affects the environment, including climate change, and why it is important to choose environmentally friendly options.  

Educators were asked to incorporate Illinois EPA's newly created Environmental Pathways: Where Does My Food Go? unit into their classroom curricula that is available free online at: https://pathways.mste.illinois.edu/. Students explored the everyday occurrence of food waste, what happens to food when it is thrown away, why that can lead to environmental issues, and what better solutions can be implemented. This curriculum unit is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.


Poetry/Prose Top Award Winners:

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Jaxson Pinter
Peru Catholic School
Peru
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Shrigauri Hattarki
Prairie Crossing Charter School
Grayslake
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Mia Reykjalin
St. Monica Academy
Chicago
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Ava Kroll
St. Monica Academy
Chicago
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Chloe Colosetti
St. Monica Academy
Chicago
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Brigid Wiss
St. Monica Academy
Chicago


Poster Top Award Winners:

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Sean Drynan
Fearn Elementary
North Aurora
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Olivia Ross
Peru Catholic School
Peru
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Madelyn Duran
St. Catherine of Siena School
West Dundee
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Morgan McKone
St. Catherine of Siena School
West Dundee
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Francis Nnodi
St. Catherine of Siena School
West Dundee
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Sara Heffelfinger
St. Catherine of Siena School
West Dundee


Student awards were mailed to the schools, where the top 12 and honorable mention winners received environmental reference books for their school libraries. All winners, including the finalists, received certificates and ribbons for their creative efforts.

Information about the annual event can be obtained by contacting Kristi Morris, Environmental Education Coordinator for the Illinois EPA at Kristi.Morris@Illinois.gov.