Alabama Student Wins at National Fish Art Expo

Connery Carson of Birmingham was awarded the National Best of Show for grades 10-12 at the 7th Annual Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest. A distinguished panel of judges selected the “Best of Show” winners in three age categories.

“I’m thrilled,” said Carson of his accomplishment. “It’s a privilege and an honor to win Best of Show as a 10th grader.”

The winning artwork was on display for hundreds of thousands of Mall visitors to admire during the fun-filled State-Fish Art Expo at Mall of America on July 2nd and 3rd. An Awards Ceremony acknowledged the hard work of the talented young artists, and Wildlife Forever’s Chairman of the Board Scott Grieve presented each winner with a blue ribbon and prizes including Rapala rods, reels and lures and gift certificates for art supplies from Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff. 

 “These talented State-Fish Art Contest artists are true ambassadors for our natural resources,” said Douglas H. Grann, President and CEO of Wildlife Forever. “Americans nationwide will learn about fisheries conservation and local aquatic species by experiencing the beautiful artwork of our country’s youth at the Expo and on the State-Fish Art website. With Connery’s help, the State-Fish Art Contest is spreading the good news about our outdoor heritage.”

To enter the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest, young artists create an illustration of their state fish and a written composition on its behavior, habitat, and efforts to conserve it. Entries are categorized in three grade levels: 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. The contest uses art to introduce students to aquatic conservation.

“I’ve been fishing for some time but mostly salt-water fishing. The State-Fish Art Contest helped me gain a better understanding of the Largemouth Bass’ fresh-water habitat,” said Carson. “I even learned a few pointers on how to catch bass.”

Located in Brooklyn Center, MN, Wildlife Forever is a multi-species conservation organization dedicated to preserving America’s wildlife heritage. Wildlife Forever is the non-profit arm of the North American Fishing Club and North American Hunting Club, representing 1.3 million members nationwide.  Working at the grassroots level, Wildlife Forever has funded conservation projects in all 50 states, committing millions of dollars to “on the ground” efforts. Wildlife Forever engages in conservation education, habitat restoration and enhancement, land acquisition, research, and management of fish and wildlife populations.

Sponsors for the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest include The Art Institutes International Minnesota, Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, Mall of America, Minnesota Twins, North American Fishing Club, and Rapala.

Judges for the 2005 State-Fish Art Contest were Larry Horn of The Art Institutes International Minnesota, Eric Gislason of Kent Hrbek Outdoors, Kevin Robb of Mall of America, Mark LaBarbera of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and Kelly Gohman of the North American Fishing Club.

To view Carson’s winning artwork, click here. For more information visit, or contact Brett Richardson at (763) 253-0222 or

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.