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2014 Arbor Day Essay Contest winners selected

Garrett Mitzel of Tyndall and Brandon Bosworth of Plankinton are among the winning essayists selected from the 1,399 entries in the 2014 Arbor Day Essay Contest.

Sponsored by South Dakota's conservation districts, McDonald's Restaurants of South Dakota and the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, the contest provides fifth- and sixth-grade students the opportunity to write about the importance of Arbor Day and tree planting in South Dakota.

For their efforts, the students win awards and cash prizes, in addition to learning more about trees.

As first-place winner, Mitzel receives a plaque, $100 in cash and a McDonald's lined jacket. His school, Bon Homme Middle School, will receive $150 for the purchase of supplies or equipment. Bosworth, the second-place winner, receives a plaque and $75.

Mitzel and Bosworth will read their essays and receive their prizes during special Arbor Day celebrations in their hometown areas. All students who entered the contest will receive a McDonald's dessert certificate and a packet of tree seeds.

South Dakota celebrates Arbor Day on April 25. Nebraska newspaper publisher J. Sterling Morton proposed the first Arbor Day in 1872. On that Arbor Day, more than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska.

The contest has been held in South Dakota for 37 years.