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TPWD News Release — May 2, 2011

Texas State-Fish Art Contest Winners Announced

ATHENS—Officials at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center have announced the winners of the Texas division of the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest.

The annual contest is open to all Texas students in public, private and home schools and is judged in three grade-level divisions: 4—6, 7—9 and 10—12. First-place winners in each grade-level division advance to the national competition. National winners will be announced at the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest Expo to be held at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center June 24—25, 2011.

The Toyota Texas Bass Classic funds cash prizes for Texas winners: $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place and $500 for third place in the 10—12 division. Prizes in the 4—6 and 7—9 grade levels are $100 for first; $75 for second; $50 for third. First-place winners also receive a travel allowance for themselves and their family to attend the contest expo.

Texas winners in the 4—6 grade-level division are: First Place, Samuel Beltran, Pasadena; Second Place, Candace Ma, Sugar Land; Third Place, Maggie Maddison, Duncanville.

Texas winners in the 7—9 grade-level division are: First Place, Brady King, Livingston; Second Place, Sun Yiming, Katy; Third Place, Lillian Chen, Sugar Land.

Texas winners in the 10—12 grade-level division are: First Place, GiGi Barker, Village Mills; Second Place, Bonnie Leung, The Woodlands; Third Place, Lorenzo Leyva, Del Rio.

Honorable Mentions were awarded by the Texas judges to the following students.

Grades 4—6: Mitchell Glover, Lake Jackson; Evett Makenzie, Corsicana; Emmy Emmons, Paige; Allison Killgore, Bremond; Jessica Schroeder, LaVernia; Seanna McCarty, Katy; and Riley Dean Merritt, Copperas Cove.

Grades 7—9: Ghenica-Rose Delfin, Del Rio; Nasa Xu, Katy; Karli Boyd, Athens; Rachel Reed, Sugar Land; Lauren Millard, Sugar Land; Jonathan Criner, Mertzon; and McKenzie Flowers, Hardin.

Grades 10—12: Madison Johnson, Dallas; Caroline Zurmely, Dallas; Peyton McCown, Willow Park; Elissa Weaver, Richwood; Judit Aguilera, Liberty; Fabian Galvan, Liberty; and Jennifer Lipscomb, Liberty Hill.

Students from across the nation will join the Texas winners at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center for the national awards ceremony to be held on Saturday, June 25, 2011, as part of the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest Expo and Art’s Better Outside event. Practicing artists are invited to demonstrate, show and sell their work and interact with the students. Booth space for the event can be reserved by contacting James Booker at (903) 670-2266 or Artists in all media are invited.

The public portion of the State-Fish Art Expo will be held June 25, 2011, and will feature fishing, instructional seminars and demonstrations and a display of all the state and national contest winners. Plans are being made for a day-long schedule of events with food booths and outdoor activities and displays that the public can enjoy in addition to viewing the artwork and voting for the People’s Choice Award. The public can also vote for the People’s Choice Award online at

One outstanding piece of artwork each year is selected for the Art of Conservation Award, and a commemorative stamp featuring the artwork is produced for sale. Proceeds from sales of the stamp are used to fund conservation projects. The 2011 winner will be unveiled at the expo.

Also to be unveiled at the expo is the winner of the Seth Thomas Spradlin Best of Show Award. In 2008, Spradlin won the Best of Show Award and the Art of Conservation Stamp Award. In late August 2010, during his second summer earning funds for college as a seasonal employee for the National Park Service in Alaska, Seth and his brother Neal lost their lives in a bush plane accident in remote Katmai National Park. “Seth’s artwork inspired us all.  I remember feeling a sense of wetness from the splash in his painting.  That element of engagement and his untimely loss challenge us to remember and recognize his talent.  I am pleased to rename our top award after him to inspire future young conservationists to excel and achieve in the outdoor world,” said Wildlife Forever CEO Doug Grann.

Public admission to the expo and related activities will be included with paid admission to TFFC.

The State-Fish Art Contest is a project of Wildlife Forever. Located in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Wildlife Forever is a non-profit multi-species 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.

For more information on visiting the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, go to

For information on Athens-area lodging, dining and attractions, visit