ELKINS, W.Va (WBOY) — One talented student has planted the ideology of caring for nature and others by winning the fourth-grade category in West Virginia’s Division of Forestry’s Arbor Day Poster contest.

Ellie Alexander was one of two winners of this year’s Division of Forestry’s Arbor Day Poster contest. The theme for this year’s contest was, ‘Trees are…Different!’, to which Ellie drew three various types of trees, including her favorite—the Cherry Blossom tree.

“It feels really great, I’m so happy that I won. Not all of the whole entire class but pretty much the whole entire school came out to see me, which was really sweet,” Ellie said.

And as if winning wasn’t exciting enough for the fourth grader, West Virginia’s Division of Forestry came to Jennings Randolph Elementary School to plant a tree dedicated to Ellie and her artistic success.

The tree planted was approximately five years old and located right next to the playground for students to come and watch grow for the next few decades.

Ellie’s tree on Jennings Randolph playground.

Andy Sheetz, Partnership Coordinator with the Urban Forestry Program of West Virginia’s Division of Forestry, spoke with 12 News to tell us a little more about the tree planted for Ellie.

“This is an October Glory Red Maple, it will get very large, it’ll take twenty years, but it’ll get sixty-seventy feet tall, and it’ll get fifty feet across,” Sheetz said.

Sheetz gave a brief presentation to the students on the importance of trees and certain qualities humans provide to benefit trees and vice versa. The students were thrilled to answer his questions as the majority already knew a lot about the subject matter.

“Kids understand the importance of trees, I mean you heard that when we did the assembly. They like the apples, the pears, the cherries, they like the fruit off them, but they also need to know there’s other reasons why we need trees. That’s why I try to bring up carbon dioxide and photosynthesis,” Sheetz said.

Participating in the Division of Forestry’s Arbor Day Poster contest has granted Ellie an appreciation for nature that she will carry with her throughout her life. Even more so, Ellie is equipped with the understanding of beauty in differences.

Along with that mindset, she has a message she’d love to get across.

“People need to know that trees are different in their own ways and need to appreciate trees for what they are,” Ellie said.

Ellie and her family after the ceremony.

For more information and to see all the entries submitted for the Arbor Day poster contest, visit West Virginia’s Division of Forestry’s website.