Creative art from Washington students win awards and put a face to the wildlife waiting to use the wildlife over crossing now under construction on Interstate 90

Winning artwork for best mammal or bird category by Jeffrey Henion of Tolt Middle School.

Winning artwork for best mammal or bird category by Jeffrey Henion of Tolt Middle School.

In a social media art contest hosted by Washington Department of Transportation and I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition, entitled Bridging Futures 2015: #iHearti90Wildlife, creative individual and group submissions from Berkeley, California to Yakima, Washington animated the diverse suite of wildlife living in Washington’s Cascade mountains that will benefit from the wildlife overpass being constructed over Interstate 90 just east of Snoqualmie Pass. Utilizing markers, paint, beans, and other art materials students and teachers represented the small crawling amphibians to the fast moving large mammals. Winners of the contest were announced and recognized in five categories at today’s groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 2A of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, which includes the construction of the wildlife overpass. The winners are:

“The judges were taken aback by the passion and thought that went into every single entry,” said Jeff Burnside, investigative reporter with KOMO 4 and contest judge. “These artists will never know the number of wildlife their art work saved by raising awareness of this important project.”

The winning classroom was awarded $500 and custom made t-shirts celebrating habitat connections for wildlife over Interstate 90, while individual winners were awarded a package to support their next wild adventure including a GoPro, REI gift card, endangered species chocolate, and the custom made t-shirt. Prizes are sponsored by the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition, a collection of non-profits engaging the public on the need for safer passage for people and wildlife on Interstate 90 just east of Snoqualmie Pass including Conservation Northwest, Sierra Club, Alpine Lakes Protection Society, and more.  Coalition Director Charlie Raines shared, “It is heartening to see the next generation’s understanding and support for the needs of wildlife and how we can incorporate that in our transportation facilities.  These artworks are both thoughtful and creative.”

“The 2015 Bridging Futures: #iheartI90wildlife art contest was a joy to be a part of, said Roger Levesque of the Seattle Sounders FC. “For these young artists to celebrate wildlife and the construction of the new I-90 overpass is inspiring. All the artwork is worthy of being recognized and each artist is a winner in my book!”

All entries are available for viewing on the contest Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ihearti90wildlife

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