Texas State-Fish Art Contest Announces 2021 Winners

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ATHENS – The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is pleased to announce the Texas division of Wildlife Forever’s Fish Art Contest winners for 2021.

The Fish Art Contest is part of an international conservation education program designed to foster youth interest in fish, fisheries, and fishing. The program encourages K-12 students to submit original artwork of any officially designated state fish and an essay or poem about the participant’s fish entry, its habitat, or efforts to conserve it.

“The State-Fish Art Contest does a tremendous job of exposing students across Texas to the wonders of fish and fisheries resources through the nexus of art,” said Tom Lang, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center Director. “We always look forward to this time of year when we are once again amazed by the outstanding work and artistic interpretations of these young Texans.”

This year, judges at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center chose the top 12 out of 767 total entries from Texas students. These top 12 works of art will be featured at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and in the 2022 Texas Fish Art Calendar.

In the K-3 category, winners were: First Place, Lisa Hwang of Garland; Second Place, Ivan Zaklyazminskiy of Frisco; Third Place, Laina Sidlik of Richardson.

In the grades 4–6 category, winners were: First Place, Grace Cao of Sugar Land; Second Place, Seha Jeong of Lewisville; Third Place, Jaden Whisneant of Silsbee.

In the grades 7–9 category, winners were: First Place, Elise Akin of Irving; Second Place, Jaini Parekh of Southlake; Third Place, Julia Jarmulak of Roanoke.

In the grades 10–12 category, winners were: First Place, Joshua Thomas of Southlake; Second Place, Michelle Huang of Coppell; Third Place, Abigail Montgomery of Dickinson.

First-place winners in each of the four age groups advanced to the national level and competed against winners from other states. Two Texas winners were announced as national winners by Wildlife Forever. Grace Cao’s Guadalupe bass won second place in the nation for the 4th through 6th grade category and Lisa Hwang’s bluegill won third place in the Kindergarten through 3rd grade division.

Wildlife Forever and the Western Native Trout Initiative awarded artwork representing western native trout. Alice Won’s Yellowstone cutthroat trout won first place in the 7th through 9th grade division. Seha Jeong’s cutthroat trout won first place and Celina Yin’s Gila trout won third place, both in the 4th through 6th grade division.

Scholarships for the first, second, and third place Texas winners are provided by the 2020 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest. Scholarships in the grades 10–12 division are $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place and $500 for third place. Awards in the 4–6 and 7–9 grade levels are $200 for first, $150 for second, $100 for third. In the K—3 division awards are $100 for first, $75 for second, $50 for third.

Scholarships for Texas winners are supplemented with additional support provided by the William E. Armentrout Foundation and Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

“Sponsor support for the Texas contest has been a key factor in making it the biggest in the nation,” said Zoe Ann Stinchcomb, Texas coordinator. “The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center hosts a day of fishing, fun and recognition for the top forty winning students, their teachers and families. And each child participating in the Texas contest receives a certificate. All of this happens because of the support of our sponsors.”

Stinchcomb also pointed out that research done on the Texas contest shows that participation in the contest makes students more likely to become interested in fishing. “Getting youth involved in the outdoors is a key goal of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and we applaud our sponsors for helping grow the future generation of stewards of our outdoors.”

Honorable mentions for Texas students in grades K–3 were awarded to; Ryuki Hotta of Missouri City; Evelyn Lee of Frisco; Akshitha Muthaluru of Irving; Mishka Patel of Richmond; Claire Kim Pranivong of Dallas; Elizabeth Sun of Coppell; and Eric Xiao of Coppell.

Honorable mentions in grades 4–6 were awarded to: Cecilia Chen of Dallas; Taylor Davis of Coppell; April Hyun of Irving; Manini Punihani of Irving; Sabrina M. Tam of Irving; Ivory Vanover of Keller; and Celina Yin of Cedar Park.

Honorable mentions for grades 7–9 were: Olivia Dennis of Woodville; Diya Hegde of Irving; Sharanjeet Kaur of Vega; Nataliya Kuryshina of McKinney; Alanna Sun of Coppell; Rebecca Thomas of Southlake; Cindy Wang of Dallas; Alice Won of Flower Mound.

Honorable mentions for grades 10–12 were: Lily Brooks of Longview; Mary Harutyunyan of Euless; Samuel Jung of McKinney; Teresa So of Sugar Land; Makinna Tibbetts of Warren; and Arwen Varner of Keller.

Educators who wish to have their students enter the 2022 contest can find entry forms, rules and guidelines and more online. A lesson plan can also be found that offers interdisciplinary curriculum including lessons and activities, a species identification section profiling each state fish, a glossary and student worksheets. Learn more at www.wildlifeforever.org.

The State-Fish Art Contest is a project of Wildlife Forever. Located in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Wildlife Forever is a nonprofit multispecies conservation organization dedicated to conserving America’s wildlife heritage. 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 supports habitat restoration and enhancement, land acquisition, research and management of fish and wildlife populations.

To view or download high resolution images of the winning artwork, visit the 2021 Fish Art Contest Album on the TPWD Flickr page.