Texas State-Fish Art Contest Announces 2023 Winners

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ATHENS — The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) is pleased to announce the Texas division winners of Wildlife Forever’s Fish Art Contest for 2023.

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 fish and an essay or poem (grades 4-12) about the participant’s fish entry, its habitat or efforts to conserve it.

“The 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 352 total entries. These top 12 works of art will be featured at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and in the 2024 Texas Fish Art Calendar.

In the K-3 category, the winners were: First place, Claire Liu of Coppell; Second place, Jackson White of Hawkins; Third place, Aarya Doddapaneni of Dallas.

In the grades 4-6 category, the winners were: First place, Lydia Ireland of San Antonio; Second place, Audrey Cunningham of Houston; Third place, Claire Lee of Prosper.

In the grades 7-9 category, the winners were: First place, Grace Cao of Sugar Land; Second place, Sophia Liu of Coppell; Third place, Kamilla Pashayeva of Plano.

In the grades 10-12 category, the winners were: First place, Arim Jun of Carrollton; Second place, Mia Macias of Pasadena; Third place, Sofiya Berzhanskaya of Highland Village.

First place winners in each of the four age groups advance to the national level and compete against winners from other states.

Scholarships for the first, second and third place Texas winners are awarded as follows: 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 by the William E. Armentrout Foundation and Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

“We have a unique opportunity to celebrate the talents of our Texas students, our beautifully diverse fish species and the hard work of our biologists who protect these resources,” said Kate Barkalow, TFFC education and interpretation coordinator.

At the conclusion of the contest, the TFFC hosts a celebration for the 12 state finalists, their teachers and families on Free Fishing Day.

“They get to see their work on display, learn more about our aquatic resources, what it takes to conserve them and go fishing, some for the first time,” Barkalow said. “None of this would be possible without the help of our sponsors and teachers. We believe that through the Texas Fish Art Contest, a new generation of stewards is created.”

Honorable mentions in grades K-3 were awarded to: Alice Bond of Lucas; Sejun Cho of Houston; Weston Ireland of San Antonio; Alice Kochubey of Prosper; Yueran Lang of Austin; Yena Lee of Denton; Isabella Naiser of Boerne and Masaki Yamaguchi of Houston.

Honorable mentions in grades 4-6 were awarded to: Anshuk Gotur of Coppell; Anya Hegde of Irving; April Hyun of Irving; Chloe Lee of Lewisville; Shaurya Parmar of Mckinney; Dheesha Reddy of Irving; Laina Sidlik of Plano; Erin Sung of Flower Mound; Nina Vargas of Farmers Branch and Mau Yamaguchi of Houston.

Honorable mentions in grades 7-9 were awarded to: Yena Chae of Lewsville; Ararush Gotur of Coppell; Azel Han of Carrollton; Naila Jamshid of Waco; Marc Kader of The Colony; Justin Luo of Coppell; Elizabeth Naiser of Boerne; Eliana Ortega of San Antonio; Jiaqi Rong of Coppell and Rebecca Thomas of Southlake.

Honorable mentions for grades 10-12 were awarded to: Divij Adhikarala of Frisco; Elise Akin of Irving; Brett Baker of Hallettsville; Caroline Cabral of Boerne; Khadija Conteh of Houston; Natalia De Leon of Plano; Emily Heng of Garland; Jennifer Miranda of Houston and Bridget Rivers of Fort Worth.

Educators who wish to have their students enter the 2024 contest can find entry forms, rules, guidelines and more online. A lesson plan 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 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 2023 Fish Art Contest Album on the TPWD Flickr page.