Three Alabama Students Reel in State-Fish Art Contest Honors

Two largemouth bass and a bluegill (bream) cast three Alabama students into the winner’s circle of the 2011 Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest. The Alabama winners are: 6th grader Hannah Walton from Barbara Keel Art School in Auburn, largemouth bass; 8th grader Sam Darring from St. Patrick School in Robersdale, bluegill; and senior Christina Rhodes from Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School in Montgomery, largemouth bass. The Alabama winners were chosen from thousands of entries submitted by students nationwide.

Winners from each state will have the opportunity to join talented young artists from across the country at the State-Fish Art Expo on June 24 and 25, at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, TX. All winning artwork will be on display and an awards ceremony will recognize the winners before a large crowd. Each winning artist who attends the Expo will receive great prizes, goodie bags, and fishing supplies from Rapala.

Wildlife Forever is pleased to honor the talented young artists, educators and parents who make the State-Fish Art Contest such a successful program,” said Douglas H. Grann, President & CEO of Wildlife Forever. “Together, we are using art to empower a new generation of conservationists. By sharing their fish art with family, friends and the general public, our young people are becoming ambassadors for good stewardship of fish and wildlife habitat.”

National awards to be announced at the State-Fish Art Expo include the top artwork for each grade category and the ‘Seth Thomas Spradlin Best of Show Award’ honors for the top artwork. The national “Best of Show” winner in grades 10-12 will receive a $2,500 scholarship to The Art Institutes International Minnesota. The first runner-up in grades 10-12 will also receive a $1,000 scholarship to the college.

The People’s Choice Award will be determined by a worldwide public online vote through or directly at Online voting will conclude on June 23rd, with additional votes collected in person at the State-Fish Art Expo. A brand-new annual recognition, the “Smile Award,” will be given to a piece of art, selected from all the entries, that just “makes you smile and feel good inside.”

One outstanding piece of artwork will win the ‘Art of Conservation’ Stamp Award and be reproduced as a conservation stamp. Proceeds from the stamp will be used to fund the State-Fish Art Contest and children’s outdoor education.

Judges for this year's competition included: David Hartwell – President, Bellcomb Technologies, Robert Hautman - Wildlife Artist, two-time Federal Duck Stamp winner, Greg Huff - Social Media Editor, North American Fishing Club, Dirk Peterson - Chief of Fisheries, Minnesota DNR, Dale Schulz - Wildlife Forever Board Member, plus Scott Grieve - Wildlife Forever Chairman of Board (Alternate Judge).

Wildlife Forever's 13th annual State-Fish Art Contest was made possible by support from: the North American Fishing Club, Rapala, Blick Art Materials, The Art Institutes International, Minnesota, Cheap Joe's Art Stuff, the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Region, and the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

Wildlife Forever is a non-profit conservation organization based in Minnesota that works to preserve America’s wildlife heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat and scientific management of fish and wildlife species. Wildlife Forever projects in Alabama include the Flint Creek fish habitat improvements and the Tsinia Wildlife Viewing Area at Alabama’s Tuskegee National Forest. For more information about the contest, including photos of this year's winning art work and a complete list of rules and entry deadlines, visit

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 Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.  To learn more about ADCNR, visit .