22 students win awards in annual poster contest.

Twenty-two students from kindergarten through 12th grade will receive awards in the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District's annual Youth Conservation Poster Contest.

The Richland County students illustrated the topic "Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities," showcasing the qualities of healthy forests and how healthy trees can lead to cleaner waterways and reduced flooding.

"Students were asked to think of themselves as being members and participants in their community, and to demonstrate ways we can all work together to have healthier forests and healthier communities," Mary Hannah Lindsay, community outreach coordinator for the conservation district, said in a news release from Richland County.

In South Carolina, a state that is 63% forested, the forestry and forestry products industries create more than 98,000 jobs and have a $21.2 billion impact on the economy, according to the release.

Posters highlighted ways to prevent water, air and soil pollution as well as the benefits of replanting trees.

More than 85 students submitted entries. Winners will receive cash prizes, and five will advance to the state competition, hosted by the S.C. Association of Conservation Districts.

"I was elated to learn that this year's middle school winners are from District 7," said Richland County Councilwoman Gretchen Barron, who represents the district. "Our children are our future. I believe increasing their awareness is important and will help our younger generations to foster a concern for the environmental issues that will impact us many years down the road."

Contest winners were:

Kindergarten-First Grade: First place: Neveah Stein, first grade, Edward E. Taylor Elementary; second place: Dyuthi Sudheer, first grade, A.C. Moore Elementary; third place: Uriel Sanchez, first...

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