Three local students’ artwork won top honors in the Fall – West Greeley Conservation District’s (WGCD) annual Conservation Poster Contest. The students earned this recognition by creating original conservation posters exhibiting this year’s theme “Where Would we BEE Without Pollinators?”

First place went to Rylee “Ray” Watson and second place to Kevin Hart, both 6th grade students in Corrina Hotra’s Art class at Windsor Middle School. Third place went to 6th grader Presley Korte one of Michelle Smiley’s Art students at Severance Middle School.

Both Ray and Kevin’s posters went on to the State Colorado Association of Conservation Districts (CACD) annual meeting. All the submissions were voted on virtually.  WGCD was notified today that Watson and Hart again placed first and second at the state level with their artistic efforts and with their parent’s permission, their posters will go on to Washington, D.C. for National consideration in January.

WGCD launched their annual Conservation Poster Contest for 6th grade youth at the local level in August the week after school opened to students. WGCD serves 66 percent of Weld County. All 6th graders from schools within their service area were invited to participate. Letters went to school Principals and 6th grade classroom teachers, science and art teachers inviting student participation and providing the schools with education packets to share with their youth – teaching them about the importance of Pollinators to the food we grow and raise. One-third of every bite we eat is dependent on pollination, especially by bees.

“This contest is one of many ways WGCD promotes educational opportunities to youth,” Kristi Helzer, WGCD Community Outreach and Education Coordinator shared. “Each participating teacher received an education packet with a Power Point presentation, web links, and science resources that coincide with state earth science standards to compliment the teacher’s educational curriculum. This doesn’t add to their work-load, it enhances learning opportunities for their students.”

Windsor Art teacher Corrina Hotra said: “Thank you so much for the opportunity for my sixth grade artists to participate and enter the annual Conservation Poster contest. What a great way for students to learn about conservation and show their understanding in a way that promotes stewardship of our most precious natural resources.  For me, as an art educator, this is an outstanding way to apply knowledge, principles, and values to more than one academic discipline simultaneously. Students not only learned the science of how bees contribute to biodiversity, but they also had the opportunity to show that learning in their own unique visual interpretation and style.” 



Poster were evaluated using the following criteria:

  • 50% how well the conservation message was shared
  • 30% visual effectiveness
  • 10% originality of the student’s artwork creations
  • 10% universal appeal


The District awarded cash prizes; $100 to Watson; $75 to Hart and $50 to Korte. The teachers received gift cards to purchase classroom supplies as a thank you for coordinating this activity with their students.

It has been a challenging year for educators. “We would like to see more schools participate,” Helzer said. “So we will continue to share this opportunity each Spring so the teachers can consider it when they are doing their summer curriculum planning for Fall. We know the students learn a great deal through this effort and we enjoy encouraging them to spread their wings and share their talents!”

For more information you may contact Kristi Helzer, Community Outreach and Education Coordinator, WGCD 970-534-2320 or


2020 Conservation Poster Winners + Posters


West Greeley Conservation District Scholarship Recipients for the 2020-2021 School year


The West Greeley Conservation District (WGCD) selected 12 outstanding students from their district’s service area to benefit from their annual scholarship program assisting students seeking higher education during the 2020-21 academic school year. Three recipients graduated from high school in May and nine are renewal and continuing education awards going to students who will be starting their sophomore, junior or senior years of study. Each of these 12 deserving students will receive two $2,500 checks sent to their chosen college or university – one for Fall semester and the second payment for Spring of 2021 totaling a $5,000 award. All are attending a Colorado institution of higher learning, pursuing training for careers in: Natural Resources, Environmental Sustainability, Agriculture, Animal Science, Stewardship, Agribusiness, Soil Crop Science, Environmental Engineering, Biology, and other related conservation fields. They earned a 3.0 GPA or better and have been very involved in their schools and community. Below are the scholarship recipients, their school and identified degree program.



Incoming Freshman Scholarships awards: Jorge Aldana Flores, graduate of Early College Academy / attending UNC studying Biology Nicolas Inda, graduate of Eaton H.S. / attending Western Colorado University studying Environmental Sustainability Maya Potter, graduate of University H.S. / attending CSU studying Environmental Engineering



Continuing Education/Renewal Scholarships awards: Ashley Adamson, a Sophomore at NJC studying Animal Science & Agriculture Education Jamie Bulzomi, a Sophomore at Adams State University studying Outdoor Education/Stewardship/ Environmental Education Lauren Frink, a Sophomore at CSU studying Animal Science Jack Sevier, a Sophomore at CSU studying Restoration Ecology Lauren Wagner, a Sophomore at NJC studying Animal Science/Animal Nutrition Micaela Fenton, a Junior at CSU studying Soil Crop Sciences Mattea Klein, a Junior at Adams State University studying Agriculture Science/Biology/Agribusiness Grant Rivera-Valencia, a Junior at CSU studying Natural Resource ECO Tourism/Fishery Biology/ Business Administration Katherine Potter, a Senior at Fort Lewis College who will be graduating in 2021 with degrees in Environmental Studies/ Political Science



West Greeley Conservation District serves both rural and urban landowners/taxpayers. Their Board and staff are committed to caring for the land and teaching citizens to treat it with respect to encourage healthy soil, which in turn grows healthy plants, shrubs, trees, crops, livestock and provides wildlife 4302 W. 9th St. Rd. Greeley, CO 80634 (970) 356-8097 Ext 3 habitats. Educating our youth to be good stewards of the land and our natural resources is important to a healthy community.