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'Stop, Think and Recycle': Students use their creativity to Keep Our Land Grand

Thursday, April 18, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   

April 18, 2018

PR# 19-013

Fourteen Oklahoma students were recognized Wednesday for their creativity in illustrating the fight against litter by entering an original piece of art in the 2019 Trash Poster Contest. From hourglasses to cowboys to giraffes, there were no limits on the creativity shown by kindergarten through 12th-grade students who paired anti-litter slogans with their art.

More than 6,700 posters were entered this year and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and its partners honored the 14 winners Wednesday at ODOT headquarters in Oklahoma City. Each received a T-shirt displaying their design and a cash prize, funded through donations. Additionally, the students’ art teachers were 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 2020 Trash Poster calendar, one additional poster was selected as the 2020 Promotional Poster of the Year and the other was selected for the 2020 entry form.

A highlight from this year was the creativity of Uriel Barrientos’s, 7th grade, Marietta, “Stop, Think and Recycle” poster.  His poster was inspired by his desire to help end littering, which went to receive the Promotional Poster of the Year award.

“The variety of creativity in the posters this year made it very difficult to pick a winner from each grade category,” said Melody Johnson, ODOT’s Beautification coordinator. “This is my thirteenth year to coordinate the event and I’m so proud of the 284 schools who participated.”

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 national Great American Cleanup, sponsored by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful.

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

The 2020 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 and needs to stop.

The 2019 contest sponsors include ODOT, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Oklahoma’s Credit Union, OGE Energy Corp., Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department-Oklahoma State Parks, Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, Ardmore Beautification Council, International Paper, Oklahoma Rural Water Association, Sierra Club Oklahoma Chapter, Solid Waste Institute of Northeast Oklahoma, Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma City Beautiful, Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

Next year’s contest begins Dec.1, 2019, and has a Jan. 31, 2020, deadline to enter posters to local DEQ offices. For more information about the contest, go online to or contact the ODOT Beautification Office at 405-521-2557 or

The winning posters may be viewed online at   

The state winners are:

Kindergarten - 2nd Grade:

  • First Place: Sophie Buchanan, 2nd grade, Harrah
  • Second Place: Cassidy Gayler, 2nd grade, Del City
  • Third Place: Farrah Singleterry, 2nd grade, Stilwell

3rd - 5th Grade:

  • First Place: SadieLynn Bundy, 4th grade, Idabel  
  • Second Place: Lance Womack, 4th grade, Duke
  • Third Place: Sibbie Oglesbee, 5th grade, Blanchard

6th - 8th Grade:

  • First Place: Allie Wright, 8th grade, Sand Springs
  • Second Place: Amara Conklin, 8th grade, Yukon
  • Third Place: Abigail Sadler, 7th grade, Catoosa

9th - 12th Grade:

  • First Place: Samantha Lopez, 12th grade, Red Oak
  • Second Place: Destiny Taft-McCall, 10th grade, Guthrie
  • Third Place: Makena Callarman, 10th grade, Cache


  • Uriel Barrientos, 7th grade, Marietta


  • Walker Copeland, 11th grade, Hollis

Lance Womack, a fourth-grader at Duke Elementary, won second place in the 3rd-5th Grade category.

Uriel Barrientos, a seventh-grader from Marietta Middle School, won the Promotional Poster of the year. Barrientos’s poster will be promoted throughout the state.

Walker Copeland, an eleventh-grader from Hollis High, received the Entry Form Poster for 2020. His poster will be published on every entry form for the 2020 contest.


(For more information or to request an individual winner’s photo, call the ODOT Media and Public Relations Division at 405-521-6000.)

Last Modified on Oct 23, 2020
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