JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri elementary, middle and home school students K-8 are invited to help fight litter -- and to have creative and educational fun -- by participating in the 2010 "Yes You CAN Make Missouri Litter Free" Trash-Can Decorating Contest.
The contest encourages students to join in the fight against litter by decorating and displaying a large trash can with the "No MOre Trash!" logo and a litter-prevention message using a variety of creative media.
Participating classes and groups must submit an entry form and photo of the completed can. There is no entry fee. Schools may submit one entry in each competition category: K-2, 3-5 and 6-8. Only Missouri schools, including home schools, are eligible.
In addition to the educational value of teaching children about the impacts of litter on their lives and the environment, the first-place entry from each competition category receives a $100 award. All first-place winners are eligible for a grand prize of $500 and a trophy. Entries are judged based on creativity, adherence to contest rules and effective use of theme and logo. Deadline for entries is March 1.
The annual contest is sponsored by the Missouri departments of Conservation and Transportation as part of their ongoing "No MOre Trash!" campaign to raise awareness about Missouri's litter problem and to discourage littering.
Littering isn't just ugly, it hurts wildlife, it costs Missourians millions of tax dollars each year, and it's illegal. Birds, fish, turtles and other animals get tangled in litter, such as plastic six-pack holders and fishing line, and it can kill them. Cigarette butts and other trash poison fish, birds and other wildlife. Litter takes thousands and even millions of years to decompose.
The Missouri Department of Transportation spends more than $5 million each year cleaning litter from Missouri's roadsides. The Missouri Department of Conservation spends almost $1 million a year to clean litter from conservation areas and other department locations. Littering, even tossing a can or cigarette butt, can cost up to $1,000 in fines and one year in jail.
Contest rules, entry forms, the "No MOre Trash!" logo, 2009 contest winners, facts on litter and educational information are available online at nomoretrash.org. For more information, call 573-522-4115, ext. 3362, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's note: Audio and video clips featuring Stacy Armstrong, MoDOT's roadside management supervisor, can be found at www.modot.org/newsroom.