April 18, 2008 - Nebraska City, NE - The Arbor Day Foundation has selected 11-year-old Michelle Holiman of Maryetta School in Stilwell, Okla., as the winner of its 2008 National Poster Contest, which is sponsored by Toyota.
The Arbor Day Foundation selected the winner from more than 75,000 fifth-grade classrooms that submitted entries from throughout the United States. The annual poster contest, in its 16th year, runs in conjunction with the national celebration of Arbor Day, which is April 25 this year. The contest includes a classroom curriculum and other activities to help increase students' knowledge and appreciation of trees.
This year's poster contest carried a theme of "Trees are Terrific … Inside and Out."
"I love trees," said Michelle after learning that her poster was the national winner. "In my poster I wanted to show the many layers of trees, and I wanted to show how planting trees can be helpful to the environment."
"Michelle's Holiman's work was simply outstanding," said Michelle Scribner, program director for National Arbor Day Foundation. "The overall quality of entries this year was so impressive, which made this year's contest very competitive. But Michelle's art rose to the top."
Representatives from the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota will present Michelle Holiman with a $1,000 U.S. savings bond during the National Arbor Day Celebration in Nebraska City, Neb., on April 25 along with her parents and art teacher, Samilou Smith. As Oklahoma's state winner, she will receive a $100 savings bond, a certificate from the Arbor Day Foundation, legislative citations and a framed copy of her poster.
As part of its commitment to enhancing environmental literacy and developing conservation leaders of tomorrow, Toyota has supported the education and tree planting efforts of the Arbor Day Foundation since 2001, and has been invested more than $2 million in Arbor Day programs.
More about Arbor Day: On January 4, 1872, J. Sterling Morton first proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called "Arbor Day" at a meeting of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture. The date was set for April 10, 1872. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for planting properly the largest number of trees on that day. More than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. Now, 135 years later, each April, millions of trees are planted all across the United States in celebration of Arbor Day.
About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit, environmental and education organization of nearly one million members with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org.
About Toyota: Toyota (NYSE:TM) established operations in North America in 1957 and will operate 15 manufacturing plants in North America by 2010. There are more than 1,700 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in North America which sold more than 2.8 million vehicles in 2006. Toyota directly employs over 41,000 in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18.6 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from North American suppliers totals more than $28.5 billion. According to a 2005 Center for Automotive Research study, Toyota, along with its dealers and suppliers, has generated nearly 400,000 U.S. jobs, including jobs created through spending by direct, dealer and suppliers employees. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.com.
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