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Nothing fishy about this artwork

ALASKA—Alaska youth reeled in awards for great fish art submissions and for a third year had a chance to submit their art and ideas for fish conservation as part of the national Wildlife Forever State Fish Art Contest™. The USDA Forest Service, Wildlife Forever, and Bass Pro Shops partner every year to introduce youth to the world of fish, fishing and aquatic conservation by blending art, science and writing.

Artwork: Fish jumping from the water.
Hali Fitka from Valdez won the Alaska State Fish Heritage Award.

Each year, young artists create an original fish illustration and submit written words detailing the fish’s habitat and conservation efforts. Entries are categorized in four grade levels: K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12.

Over 20 young artists from across the Alaska Region submitted their art, showing a lot of creative talent. Eight submissions were specific to the Alaska Fish Heritage Award, which celebrates the importance of the Chinook salmon to Alaskan culture and heritage. Judging the art, while a fun prospect, can be more difficult than it may seem. Rebeca Adam (Regional Partnership, Volunteer, and Service Program resource assistant) was charged with organizing the submitted art into the different age categories and tackling the difficult task of determining the winners.

Artwork: Fish underwater.
Aurora Sweeney from Kotzebue was the grades 4-6 winner.

Adam decided to engage staff across the Alaska Region to help determine the winning artists. She set up contest submissions in Pinyon and invited staff to view and vote on the submitted art. After two weeks of voting the results were tallied and the top young artists were decided.

Adam shared, “Working on this project has made me feel more connected to Alaska and I appreciate the creativity of the young artists. Their dedication to their art and conservation messages is inspiring.”

Artwork: Person catching fish and imagining the cycle: fishing from boat, catching, hanging to dry and cooking.
Averie Brown from Dillingham won the award for grades K-3.

The top winners were spread across the region. Alaska’s first place winners are:

  • Alaska State Fish Heritage Award: Hali Fitka from Valdez
  • Grades 4-6: Aurora Sweeney from Kotzebue
  • Grades K-3: Averie Brown from Dillingham
  • Special Acknowledgement: Raymond Vingant from Juneau

Alaska’s Heritage award winner Hali Fitka said, "So, you see, fish is life to me. If there was no fish, there would be no life. I can Imagine no food, no culture and no jobs for people to work. Fish do a lot of work."

All 2021 Wildlife Forever State Fish Art Contest™ winners can be found on their website.

Paper "sculpture" of a fish.
Raymond Vingant from Juneau received special acknowledgment for his submission.

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