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Hay state fish art contest winner announced

"Wildlife Forever is pleased to honor the talented young artists, educators and parents who make the State-Fish Art Contest a memorable event," said Douglas H. Grann, President and CEO of Wildlife Forever. "Together, we are using art to empower a new generation of conservationists. By sharing their fish art with family, friends and the general public, our young people are becoming ambassadors for good stewardship of fish and wildlife habitat."

Winning entries from each state were selected by a prestigious panel of judges in three categories, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. Judges for the 2008 State-Fish Art Contest included Charlie Wooley, Regional Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Commissioner Mark Holsten from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Jelena Tosovic from the Art Institutes International Minnesota, Mark Fisher of Rapala Lures, David Frederick of Barr Engineering, and Scott Grieve, Chairman of Wildlife Forever.

In addition to having their artwork displayed at, these winners will have the opportunity to join talented young artists from across the country at the State-Fish Art Expo July 19-20 at Mall of America's Central Rotunda. All winning artwork will be on display and an Awards Ceremony will recognize the winners before a large Mall crowd. Each winning artist who attends the Expo will receive a blue ribbon, fishing rod and reel, a gift certificate for art supplies from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff and other prizes.

National awards to be announced at the State-Fish Art Expo include "Best of Show" honors for the top three pieces of artwork in each grade category from across the United States. The national "Best of Show" winner in grades 10-12 will receive a $2,500 scholarship to The Art Institutes International Minnesota. The first runner-up in grades 10-12 will also receive a $1,000 scholarship to the college.

One outstanding piece of artwork will win the "Art of Conservation" Stamp Award and be reproduced as a conservation stamp. Proceeds from the stamp will be used to fund conservation education and aquatic restoration projects across America.

Expo participants will also enjoy a Saturday fishing event at Minnesota National Wildlife Refuge. The winning artists and their families will also receive free entry to the July 20th Minnesota Twins game and participate in a special pre-game recognition ceremony on the playing field of the Metrodome before the Twins face the Texas Rangers.