The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition hosted another year of the Bridging Futures contest to incorporate transportation and wildlife safety education into statewide elementary school classrooms – our annual Bridging Futures Contest.
The Bridging Futures VII Contest invited elementary school students statewide to submit art renderings and essays depicting what a wildlife crossing might look like and how they function. The idea behind this annual contest is that we tap into the creativity of statewide kids to help educate the wider driving public about the issues surrounding transportation and wildlife with a focus on a unique solution so close to home.
“These young artists are thinking about the conflicts we face in our desire to have travel be safe for humans and safe for the animals whose homes we are disrupting, and they have some great ideas. When the I-90 wildlife project is completed and the corridor is safely open to both cars and critters, these students can realize that they helped make a difference, and they will tell their friends,” said contest judge Sid Morrison.
We sorted through the hundreds of ads and essays submitted this year to produce a Top 10 for our judges to review. The winning students were Thomas Snedeker of Lincoln Elementary in Ellensburg and Susan Wehelie of Dunlap Elementary in Seattle. Contest judge Kirk Holmes of Kittitas County said, “Thomas’s direct approach in his artwork communicates the solution to preventing conflict between the driver and wildlife extremely well. His final sentence of his essay says it all, ‘You have to be sure that they can have access to a habitat that they need for survival.’ Well done.”
“It was amazing to see how these young people verbalized and then drew their concept of a wild life overpass. They all did a great job,” said Senator Curtis King, a contest judge.
All Top 10 ads traveled on a display roadshow along the I-90 corridor at businesses from Yakima to Seattle including Suncadia, Cle Elum bakery, Patagonia, and Woodland Park Zoo. The winning classrooms received $200 for additional supplies to keep on learning and being creative!