Skip to main content

Students aim to keep our land bright with no litter in sight

Thursday, April 19, 2018

More than 6,800 students statewide chose to lend their artistic abilities to the fight against litter by entering an original piece of art in the 2018 Trash Poster Contest. From ballerinas to hedgehogs to pirates, there were no limits on the creativity shown by kindergarten through 12th-grade students who paired anti-litter slogans with their art.

Thirteen students’ posters from across the state were selected as winners in this year’s contest and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and its partners honored those students Wednesday at ODOT headquarters in Oklahoma City. They each received a T-shirt displaying their design and a cash prize, funded from donations. Additionally, the students’ art teachers are awarded a voucher for classroom art supplies and a voucher for a two-night stay at any Oklahoma state park.

Twelve of the posters will be featured in the 2019 Trash Poster Calendar and one additional poster was selected as the 2019 Promotional Poster of the Year. (See winners list below.)

“The posters this year made it very difficult to pick a winner from each grade category. I always love seeing the creative minds of children at work showing support for a litter-free Oklahoma,” said Melody Johnson, Beautification coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. “This year we had 262 schools participate.”

A highlight of the event was the presentation of a plaque to Olivia Anderson, a senior from Ardmore, for placing in the contest for eight consecutive years, which is a first for any Oklahoma student since the contest’s inception 27 years ago.

“You’re making a difference in our state,” Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Mike Patterson told students Wednesday. “Thank you for all that you’re doing to get the message out to keep Oklahoma beautiful.”

The department spends $5 million annually to combat litter while the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority spends $1.5 million annually to clean along turnpikes. Those totals do not include the hundreds of volunteer hours put toward fighting litter across the state through events like ODOT’s annual Trash-OFF and the Great American Cleanup.

The winning posters will be on display in the ODOT lobby through May, along with additional winning posters from the county level judging done by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

The 2019 calendar will be available for free and will be distributed to state agencies, businesses and schools statewide later this year. The Promotional Poster of the Year will be printed in large format for the public to use in displays, newsletters and for promotional use to help spread the word that litter is harmful to our state.

The 2018 contest sponsors include ODOT, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, International Paper, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, OGE Energy Corp., Oklahoma’s Credit Union, Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department-Oklahoma State Parks, Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, Sierra Club- Oklahoma Chapter, Oklahoma Rural Water Association, Ardmore Beautification Council, Solid Waste Institute of Northeast Oklahoma, Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma City Beautiful and Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

Next year’s contest begins Dec.1 and has a Jan. 31, 2019, deadline. For more information about the contest, go online to or contact the ODOT Beautification Office at 405-521-2557 or email

The winning posters may be viewed online at:

The state winners are:

Kindergarten - 2nd Grade:

  • First Place: Sophie Buchanan, 1st grade, Harrah
  • Second Place: Carlee Castleman, 2nd grade, Idabel
  • Third Place: Sophia Wang, 2nd grade, Edmond

3rd - 5th Grade:

  • First Place: Channing Reames, 5th grade, Guthrie
  • Second Place: Cambri Castleman, 4th grade, Idabel
  • Third Place: Aahlana Bearpaw, 4th grade, Stilwell

6th - 8th Grade:

  • First Place: Thomas Buchanan, 8th grade, Harrah
  • Second Place: Austin Buchanan, 6th grade, Harrah
  • Third Place: Sammy McNiel, 6th grade, Kingston

9th - 12th Grade:

  • First Place: Olivia Anderson, 12th grade, Ardmore
  • Second Place: Gunner Francis, 11th grade, Kiefer
  • Third Place: Masheli Bully, 12th grade, Calera


  • Makena Callarman, 9th grade, Cache

Makena Callarman, a ninth-grader at Cache High School, is the 2019 Promotional Poster of the Year award winner. She will have her drawing featuring Oklahoma’s state bird the Scissortail Flycatcher printed in large format for public display.

Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Mike Patterson recognized Olivia Anderson, of Ardmore, for placing in the statewide Trash Poster Contest for eight consecutive years. This makes her the first student to achieve that level of recognition in the contest’s 27-year history.

This depiction of the state animal, state butterfly, state bird and state wildflower won first place in the ninth- through 12th-grade category of the Oklahoma Trash Poster Contest. Ardmore senior Olivia Anderson’s poster will represent the month of August in the 2019 calendar.

Last Modified on Oct 23, 2020
Back to Top