NGRREC Announces Photo Contest Winners

Article by: Jan Dona, L&C Media Services,

EAST ALTON – The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠) has announced the winners of the Swarovski Waterschool photo contest, recently held in recognition of United Nations World Water Day and as part of the 2021 Water Festival.

The contest was open to K-12 students in the St. Louis area and Metro East. Entries were required to feature water and include a one-paragraph statement from the student describing what water means to them.

“We are grateful to the many students who submitted photographs to our World Water Day photography contest,” said Director of Environmental Education Sarah Fisher. “We hope that through participating in this contest, students were able to reflect on their connection to water in their daily life and throughout their community.”

Nine students from three age groups received crystal collectibles provided by Swarovski Waterschool.

K-5th grade

  • 1st place: Lydia Gaddis, 5th grade, Pocahontas, Ill.
  • 2nd place: Ivy Dickens, 2nd grade, Glen Carbon, Ill.
  • 3rd place: David Vogel, 4th grade, Golden Eagle, Ill.

6th-8th grade

  • 1st place: Adam Elik, 8th grade, Alton, Ill.
  • 2nd place: Jenna Fraley, 8th grade, Calhoun County, Ill.
  • 3rd place: Blake Nolte, 7th grade, Golden Eagle, Ill.

9th-12th grade

  • 1st place: Grey Gomez, 12th grade, Edwardsville, Ill.
  • 2nd place: Jillian Welsh, 11th grade, Glen Carbon, Ill.
  • 3rd place: Sonora Haake, 9th grade, Webster Groves, Mo.

The winning entries are available for viewing and downloading at

For more information on the educational opportunities available through NGRREC℠, contact Fisher at (618) 468-2783 or

National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠)

Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities. To learn more about NGRREC, visit