Carol Jackson's students at Forestview Middle School captured the top four regional placements as well as runner-up in the Minnesota Cats Indoors Poster Contest.
The judges found it so difficult to narrow the field that Forestview students also took four of five regional honorable mentions.
Jamie Whitehead placed second in the region and was runner-up for the top state poster. Regional winners included Mindy Jacobson (first), Jamie Whitehead, second, Ally Mueller, third, and Libby Pedersen, fourth. Honorable mentions went to Krista Bjork, Betsy Brueske, Reah Williams and Whitnee Hale.
Top state winners include first place age 6-7 Petra Richter, age 8-9 Marie Bozovsky and age 10-12 Matthew Toenies. Runners up include age 6-7 Brianna Kulka, age 8-9 Janelle Heinks and age 10-12 Jamie Whitehead.
There were four winners in each age group in each of the four regions of the state, for a total of 16 winners statewide. This year 17 honorable mentions were designated as well.
One state winner and one runner-up were chosen from the 33 regional winning entries. Some posters will go on to the American Bird Conservancy's national poster competition in Washington, D.C. during International Migratory Bird Week in May.
Each of the four regional winners received a "Birds of Minnesota" field guide and an Audubon plush bird that sings a realistic song. Honorable mentions received LED flashlights donated by Audubon Minnesota, DNR nongame wildlife bookmarks and a "Teaming with Wildlife" pencil. Paul Bunyan Nature Learning Center also donated a T-shirt and hat.
As a state-level winner, Whitehead's prizes included the "Wild About Birds" book by the DNR's Carrol Henderson, an Audubon plush loon and the "Let's Go Birding" edition of the "Minnesota Conservation Volunteer" magazine in addition to the field guide.
Even teacher Carol Jackson got some perks for committing time to incorporating the message of keeping cats indoors in her curriculum. She received a photo frame donated by the St. Paul Audubon Society and a Volunteer magazine classroom subscription supplied by the Conservation Volunteer staff.
The winning posters will also be used to publicize the educational effort to encourage people to keep their cat indoors, not only for the cat's safety, but also for the sake of birds and wildlife.
Cats allowed to roam outdoors are killed and maimed by dogs, cars, coyotes or other animals. They pick up deer ticks and fleas that may carry diseases, ingest toxic pesticides, poisons and antifreeze, get caught in traps or become a meal for a hungry eagle or great horned owl.
Now that spring has arrived, resident and returning migratory birds are ready to nest. Not only are these birds subject to being caught, injured or killed by cats, but their eggs and babies are also often crushed or mauled. Small mammals and reptiles are vulnerable to being preyed upon by cats.
Contest funding was provided by the Minnesota Ornithologist's Union and the DNR's nongame wildlife program.
The list of regional winners and honorable mentions and the six state-winning posters will also appear on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/contests/catposter.html.
For more information about keeping cats indoors or for tips on how to make your outdoor cat a happy indoor cat, contact the American Bird Conservancy in Washington, DC at (202) 452-1535 or www.abcbirds.org.
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