Five students win MDC Endangered Species Postcard Contest

News from the region
Published Date

JEFFERSON CITY Mo — Have you ever heard of a cerulean warbler? What about a pink mucket? The first is a colorful bird native to Missouri. The second is a native freshwater mussel. These endangered species are among many that are disappearing from Missouri’s midsized rivers and their corridors, such the Platte, Salt and Osage.

To help Missouri’s students learn about these and other endangered species, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) holds an annual contest in which students in kindergarten through grade 12 illustrate postcards with drawings of state endangered species or species of conservation concern.

This year, about 4,100 students from across the state created postcards depicting the theme, “River habitat—we gotta have it!” Schools sent their students’ best efforts—a total of 674 cards—to be judged. Five talented students took first-place honors, one each for the contest’s five grade categories.

  • First-grader Myles Hamacher of St. Francis Xavier in Jefferson City won first place in the K-2nd- grade category.
  • Fourth-grader Ray Winter of St. Catherine Laboure’ in St. Louis won in the 3rd-4th-grade category.
  • Sixth-grader Sydney Haistings of St. Paul's Episcopal Day School in Kansas City took the top prize for the 5th-6th-grade category.
  • Eighth-grader Katie Heflin of Heflin Homeschool in St. Peters won the 7th-8th-grade category.
  • Twelfth-grader Ryan Vernon of California High School in California took first place in the 9th-12th-grade category.

“Participating students learned about Missouri’s endangered species and the importance of sustaining healthy habitats,” said MDC Graphic Designer and contest coordinator Marci Porter. “A lot of teachers really took advantage of the educational opportunities tied to this contest, which is what we ultimately hope for.”

All five first-place winners will have their postcards printed and sold through MDC’s Nature Shops.

View the top three entries from each grade category and get more information on the contest at