Young student-artists from Soulsbyville, Summerville and Sonora elementary schools were honored Friday morning for their entries in a Woodsy Owl poster contest sponsored by the Tuolumne County Garden Club and the California Garden Club.

Hunter Hess, a first-grader at Soulsbyville Elementary, won first place in California for his age group and first place in the multi-state Pacific Region. He placed second nationally in his age category, California and Tuolumne County Garden Club members said.

Enya Zhang, a fifth-grader at Sonora Elementary, also won first place in the state for her age group and first place in the multi-state Pacific Region. She placed second nationally in her age category, as well.

Other winners recognized Friday included Avery Boule, a second-grader at Summerville Elementary, who placed third statewide in her age group; Emma Lewallen, a third-grader at Summerville Elementary, who placed second statewide in her age group; Lilly Harner, a third-grader at Summerville Elementary, who placed fourth statewide in her age group; Camden Sparks, a fourth-grader at Sonora Elementary, who won second place for her age group in Tuolumne County and statewide; Sophia Gardner, a fourth-grader at Sonora Elementary, who placed third statewide in her age group; Lucia Olive Birtwhistle, a fourth-grader at Sonora Elementary, who placed fourth statewide in her age group; Laurel Ingalls, a fourth-grader, who won fourth place Honorable Mention for her age group in Tuolumne County; and Camryn Smith, a fifth-grader at Sonora Elementary, who placed fourth in her age group statewide.

Woodsy Owl is a promotional mascot created by the U.S. Forest Service in 1970. Promotion messages attributed to Woodsy Owl and advertised by the federal agency include “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute” and “Lend a Hand, Care for the Land.”

Each year, the Tuolumne County Garden Club invites students in first through fifth grades to draw posters of either Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl. Sept. 15 will be the 50th anniversary of Woodsy Owl’s official introduction by the Forest Service, so this year’s poster contest was limited to Woodsy Owl entries only.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.net or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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