Fifth Grade Student Wins Nebraska Arbor Day Poster Contest, Places 3rd Nationally

LINCOLN, Nebr., April 18, 2006 – Katie Warneke, a fifth-grade student at Debie Plog Art Studio and Mary Our Queen Elementary School in Omaha, NE is the Nebraska state winner in the 2006 Arbor Day National Poster Contest and the 3rd place recipient in the national competition.

The Arbor Day National Poster Contest is open to fifth grade students in states with a designated coordinator. It has been held since 1992 to help promote the importance of Arbor Day and tree planting as well as to educate children about the importance of trees and the benefits they provide in our daily lives. This year’s competition was centered on the theme “Trees are Terrific… in all Shapes and Sizes!” More than 500 fifth grade students from nearly 30 Nebraska schools participated this year, and 45 states participated nationally.

At her school on April 7, Katie was presented with a savings bond donated by the Nebraska Power Association for her state winning poster. Her teacher, Ms. Debie Plog, received a $250 for the purchase of educational materials for the school. For placing third in the national competition, Katie will receive an additional $250 savings bond, and her teacher will receive an additional $50 for school supplies.

Warneke will attend an Arbor Day observance on April 28 at 9:30 am, held at the State Capitol, with representation by Governor Dave Heineman. Representatives from the Nebraska Forest Service, the Nebraska Power Association and the National Arbor Day Foundation will also attend.

Five runners-up were also recognized in the Nebraska contest. They are: Kaitlin Jackson, of Nemaha Valley School in Cook; Virginia “Gini” Phillips, of Wallace Public School in Wallace; Veronica Ramirez-Londono, of Crestridge Magnet School in Omaha; Braden Sikes, of Knickrehm Elementary in Grand Island; Benjamin Swanson, of Swanson Home School in Lincoln. The posters can be seen on the Nebraska Forest Service website at

The Nebraska competition is administered by the Nebraska Forest Service and sponsored by the Nebraska Power Association (NPA), representing the utility companies of Nebraska. The NPA is committed to providing Nebraskans with reliable, low-cost electric service. Its Board of Directors support Arbor Day curriculum in schools as a way to recognize the important role trees play in the conservation of energy and natural resources throughout Nebraska and the nation.

The national competition is sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota. The National Arbor Day Foundation, a million-member, nonprofit educational organization, is dedicated to inspiring people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. To learn more about the Foundation’s youth education program or National Arbor Day, visit