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Heather Weller's winning poster design.

'Trees are terrific...' Maple planted in honor of statewide contest winner

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At 85-years-young, Heather Weller will be able to stroll into her old schoolyard, and slip under the canopy of a large maple tree she planted as a youth.

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That will be year 2085.

The "autumn blaze" maple will be the legacy of a ten-year-old New York Mills fifth grader, who in year 2010 created a poster that won a statewide Arbor Day honor.

Her reward for the prize-winning poster was really a reward for everybody in New York Mills, because the prize will live and grow for present and future generations to enjoy.

The prize tree was planted in Heather Weller's honor, and a metal plaque by the tree will be a testimony to her first place award.

She was one of more than 120 entries statewide in the contest, which had a theme of the benefits of trees for conservation and as an energy source.

"Trees are terrific...And energy wise" was the theme of this year's Arbor Day poster contest. The second and third place winners were from Royalton and Chanhassen.

Her poster illustrated themes of the importance of trees for windbreaks, for shade, for firewood and for recreation.

Three winners were selected statewide. Her first place finish qualifies her for the national Arbor Foundation poster contest. Her winning poster will also be displayed at the Minnesota State Fair.

A tree was presented in her honor, from Sue Flynn, of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association and area garden center operator Nick Theroux, of Blossoms, Birds and Beyond.

Tim Swedberg of Swedberg Nurseries in Battle Lake donated the tree. Swedberg and Theroux are members of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. 

For the tree planting ceremony, her classmates were invited out to the grounds, and they cheered as Heather and Nick Theroux planted the tree and covered it with dirt.

Equally proud of the state award was her teacher, Doug Salo; and all four of her grandparents: Joe and JoAnne Weller, Ottertail area, and Ben and Rita Landwehr, who traveled from Wadana for the tree-planting ceremony.

Her mom and dad, Dean and Kristi Weller, captured the moment on film and video.

The 2010 Arbor Day Poster Contest is coordinated regionally by the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association.

Heather's poster entry was featured, in full color, on the front page of the MNLA's May magazine edition. Her artwork was also reproduced into an official poster for the MNLA.

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