Mercer County Student Takes Top Honors in the National Poison Prevention Contest

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Posted on November 6th, 2012 by Christina Becker in Announcements, General

This week’s blog is written by Christina Becker, an Extension Specialist in the Penn State Pesticide Education Program. Chris coordinates the statewide Poison Prevention Outreach Program for our office, which is quite an undertaking. Not mentioned in the blog below is that last year, the program reached over 8,000 kids! Chris has already begun her planning for next year’s program.

Colby Johnson is a national Poison Prevention Poster Contest Winner!

Colby Johnson, age 7, of West Middlesex, never imagined that the poster he created in March would win him the prestige of being a national poster contest winner for Poison Prevention, but win he did. What a wonderful surprise!

Colby, currently a 2nd grade student at Luther Low Elementary school in the West Middlesex School District, submitted his poster (pictured on left) in recognition of National Poison Prevention Month in March. Students were encouraged to make a poster for the state and national poster contests as a complement to an educational presentation focusing on poison prevention. Throughout the month of March, Master Gardeners presented this outreach program, designed by the Penn State Pesticide Education Program. Although only 1st grade students received the lesson, the poster contest was open to students in grades K-8.

Colby's winning poster has an important message, "Children act fast, so do poisons."

Colby was very excited to hear that he had won the national contest. He said to his Mom, Marci Gerda, “I won? Is this a joke? I can’t believe it. This is the best thing ever!” Then he said, “You almost didn’t fill out the application. Aren’t you glad I made you?”

Angie Chlpka is the Master Gardener who presented the Poison Prevention Outreach Program to Colby's school.

Mercer County Master Gardeners actively participated in the outreach and should be extremely proud of their efforts. Angie Chlpka (pictured with Colby), the Mercer County Master Gardener who presented the lesson, not only had a great time but can now claim bragging rights. Not only did Colby Johnson win the National Poster Contest but another 1st grader at Luther Low, Leah Chung, was chosen as a finalist in the State Poison Prevention Poster Contest.

The Pennsylvania Poster Contest, sponsored by the Penn State Pesticide Education Program, is being conducted online and voting is open to the public until November 23rd. Our program is encouraging people to visit the site and vote for their favorite posters. What a better way to choose a winner than let the public decide. You can visit our website at to cast your vote. Click on the poster contest link under “Spotlight” on the right side of the home page.

This year’s winners will be contacted in December and presented their awards and certificate at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg, PA in January 2013. More information will be on our Pesticide Education Program Poster Contest website about the details on award time and location at the Farm Show.

Until next time,
Be Safe!