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Greenfield 3rd Grader Competes in National Tree Contest

S Bence

Edgewood Elementary student Annabelle Tornio came up with 10 reasons why “trees rock”, got her mom to set it to video.  Before she knew it, Annabelle made the finals of competition sponsored by Scotties.
Actually, one of her school's fifth grade classes entered too, but only Annabelle made the cut.  Ten finalists from around the country were selected to compete in the 3rd through 5th grade category.

She explains her process. Annabelle began by journaling. She came up with reasons trees are important to her.

Her mom, Stacy Tornio, didn’t think Annabelle would see it through, but when she saw her daughter journaling away on the topic, “I remember saying to her, I’m not going to do this for you, you’ll have to take some imitative.”

Annabelle’s video just made the deadline in the nick of time.

When her entire school watched Annabelle's 1 ½ minute production, she says, “it felt good.”

Annabelle has watched all nine of her competitors’ work and offers this assessment, “my opinion is that some of them are funny and weird.”

On-line voting has already launched and nnabelle’s mom had just received an update. “They do status updates and the first one came today. We’re behind; Annabelle doesn’t know this yet. Out of ten, we’re in ninth place. We’re hoping we can rally some community support; we haven’t gotten our signs out yet.”

Annabelle is temporarily stunned with dissapointment.

When I ask, what she’s learned so far from the contest experience, she answers flatly, “I’m in ninth place.”

Beyond that, Annabelle says she’s happy with the ten reasons she came up with, especially the fact that “trees make homes for animals.”

She’s also learned that she should be more kind to trees, by, Annabelle says,”not pulling bark off of them.” She said it's hard to fight the urge to see what’s underneath.

Voting ends February 6 at 11:59:59 EST.  Depending on how close you live to Greenfield, Wisconsin , you might HEAR Annabelle if she comes out on top.

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Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.