Nebraska City, Neb. (March 30, 2009) – On Monday, the Arbor Day Foundation will launch an online voting element as part of this year's National Poster Contest, an annual competition that engaged nearly 70,000 fifth-grade classrooms in 2008. The Foundation is inviting students, teachers, and other visitors to its Web site, www.arborday.org/postercontest, to log on from March 30 through April 3, and vote for their favorite poster. The entry with the most votes will automatically move to the final round of judging for the national winner.
Voters are encouraged to visit www.arborday.org/postercontest to view the images of the 47 posters selected as winners in their respective home states, and to vote for their favorite. Voters can submit one vote for every 24-hour period until voting ends at 5:30 p.m. CDT on April 3. The poster with the most number of online votes will automatically move to the final round of judging. A panel of five judges will then select a national winner, along with second- and third-place finishers.
The winner of the national poster contest will be announced on Arbor Day, which is Friday, April 24.
"This will be a great way to involve the entire nation in the poster contest," said Michelle Saulnier-Scribner, program director of the Arbor Day Foundation. "School-aged children, as well as their parents, teachers ... people who are interested in art or in trees ... they all have an opportunity to play a part in this contest."
Prizes will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners. The national winner, his or her parents, and the teacher of the winning student will receive an expense-paid trip to the National Arbor Day Awards Weekend in Nebraska City in April. The national winner also will receive a $1,000 savings bond, a lifetime membership to the Arbor Day Foundation, a tree planted in his or her name and a framed color copy of his or her poster. The national winner's teacher will receive $200.
The second- and third-place winners will each receive savings bonds and trees will be planted in their honor. Prizes also will be awarded on the state level.
The 2009 contest, sponsored by Toyota, carries the theme, "Trees are Terrific...In Cities and Towns!" This theme was chosen in part because it helps students better understand the importance of trees in communities. This is the fourth time the Foundation has selected this theme since the poster contest's 1992 inception, as it has always been among the most popular. The competition is free and open to fifth-grade students nationwide.
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, 137 years later, each April, millions of trees are planted all across the United States in celebration of Arbor Day.
About Toyota: Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants, with another under construction in Mississippi. Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Through its corporate initiatives, manufacturing operations and philanthropy, Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. In 2007, Toyota contributed more than $56 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S. For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/community.
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