It took Maddie James, 11, two weeks to draw the tiny dots that make up the leaves on her Arbor Day poster, but the hard work paid off.
“It took forever,” she said. “I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish in time.”
Maddie’s poster took first prize in the 15th annual Arbor Day poster contest. Her poster, which features a dog and a cat talking about saving trees, earned her a $100 cash prize and a special ribbon which will be presented at the April 25 Arbor Day celebration in Gig Harbor.
The poster competition was open to fourth- and fifth-graders in the Peninsula School District and the top poster, Maddie’s, is now the official event poster. About 100 posters were submitted to the contest, said Carol Alex, with the Gig Harbor Arbor Day Organization.
Another fifth-grade winner at Minter Creek is Brianna Klehold, 11, who tied for third place with Jude Urman, a fourth-grader at Purdy Elementary. Her poster was a tree trunk with two arms wrapped around it and hands shaping a heart. Brianna didn’t know just how many enter the contest, but when she found out her face lit up when she realized that large number.
“I feel really good that I actually won,” she said.
Maddie, a fifth-grader Minter Creek, has plans for her winnings. She might use a little bit to shop with, but most of it is headed straight to the bank. She’s saving up for a car. After all, she’ll be 16 in four years and knows she wants something nice, but affordable.
The dog and cat in her poster were inspired by real life. She has two dogs and two cats: a golden retriever named Goldie, a pug named Gizmo, a black cat named Luke and a Calico cat named Polly.
Her mother is a veterinarian tech, Maddie said, “so all of our cats have this strange back story behind them.”
Savannah Bruno, 11 and a fifth-grader at Minter Creek, will have her poster converted into a book cover for the Arbor Day Poetry Contest entries. She’ll receive $25 in prize money as well. Ten-year-old Jacob Jarvis, a fourth-grader at Discovery Elementary, took home second place.
In addition to the poster contest, the Arbor Day organization hosts a coloring contest for kindergarteners; an essay contest for first, second and third grade; a poetry contest for sixth, seventh and eighth grade; and a photo contest for middle and high school students.
The Gig Harbor Arbor Day celebration runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gig Harbor Civic Center, 3510 Grandview St. Winners of the contests will receive awards, the Harbor Heights Orcas will perform, a tree will be planted and an arborist will answer questions.
Admission is free and each visitor will receive a tree sapling for planting. For more information, visit gigharborarbor.org.