MDC awards Troy woman first place in Trees Work slogan contest

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Troy, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has chosen a winner for a state-wide slogan contest. Leslie Stephens of Troy, Mo., won first place in the Trees Work Poster Slogan Contest. More than 1,300 slogans were submitted.

The goal of MDC's Trees Work campaign is to increase awareness of the benefits trees provide to all Missourians. As part of the campaign, MDC has produced a series of posters, each having a different slogan that begins with "Without trees . . ." and ends with "Trees Work!"

Examples of existing poster slogans include "Without trees . . . hammocks would just be blankets on the ground." and "Without trees . . . hide and seek would just be seek." Each poster is hand-crafted in St. Louis by Firecracker Press using vintage letterpress and wood carvings from Missouri-grown wood.

For the next poster, MDC wanted to hear what Missourians had to say. They sponsored a contest to finish the phrase "Without trees . . ." and encouraged Missourians to create and enter their own slogans. The contest deadline was April 30th, and was followed by a lengthy review process involving MDC foresters, marketing and media specialists, and designers.

Stephens' winning slogan was "Without trees we'd be up a creek without a paddle."

Stephens, who works full time as a surgical technician, said for her husband Matt and their three boys Missouri's forests and rivers are a major part of their lives. Stephens said she took her middle son on a three day float trip when he was 17 months old and she was 7 ½ months pregnant with her youngest! Since then, the family has canoed numerous times on the Current, Eleven Point and Jack's Fork Rivers in Missouri. "Since my boys were babies, they have been on the river as much as possible-swimming, canoeing, rock hunting, hiking, exploring, camping, kayaking, fishing," said Stephens. "It's just what we do!"

Stephens said she takes pride in using wooden paddles in their canoe, since she and her family try to buy local and wooden products rather than imported plastic items whenever possible. Moreover, Stephens started a Stream Team with her family this spring. As a Stream Team, the Stephens family has volunteered to clean litter and monitor water quality along a stretch of the Cuivre River close to Troy.

According to Stephens, what most excites her is how Missouri's forests provide clean rivers for her family to enjoy and how Missouri's forests provide a local, renewable building resource—wood. Stephens said that was the inspiration behind her slogan.

"Missouri's scenic rivers and its conservation areas have given us so much," said Stephens. "They have provided countless memories, a true connection to nature and each other, an appreciation for what we have here that money cannot buy, and purpose with our conservation efforts."

Stephens received ten copies of the new poster created with her winning slogan, a full set of posters from the rest of the series, a double hammock, compliments of Eagle Nest Outfitters, and a wooden, Missouri-made spatula with the "Trees Work" logo engraved on the handle.

MDC would like to thank everyone who participated in the Trees Work contest. For more information on the Trees Work campaign and how to obtain Trees Work posters to display in your area, visit .