This spring, Cascadia Conservation District sponsored our second Earth Day essay contest. The contest was open to sixth through eighth grade students in Chelan and Douglas counties. The essay question, thought up by one of our blog readers (thank you again!), was:
“What have you learned from nature and why is what you’ve learned important?”
We received some wonderful essays! The panel of judges, representing Cascadia Conservation District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Initiative for Rural Innovation and Stewardship, and Wenatchee River Institute evaluated the essays for their creativity, thoughtfulness and relevance to topic. All the judges were impressed with the originality and eloquence with which these students wrote about their relationship to the environment.
We are pleased to announce this year's winners:
First Place: Mariela Morales of Orchard Middle School
Second Place: Isabelle Tall of Cascade Christian Academy
Third Place: Tommy Tilton of Icicle River Middle School
The top three essay writers will spend a Saturday in June with a professional wildlife biologist from the US Forest Service conducting white-headed woodpecker surveys. In addition, the three contest winners received prizes courtesy of Bird Cage Press.
Congratulations to this year’s winners!!
Thank you to all of the students who contributed essays to this year's contest. We enjoyed each and every one of your essays, and hope you'll keep on writing!
Thank you also to my fellow judges- Lynann, Nancy, and Ann- for your time and effort; there were some hard decisions to be made!
And thank you to Bird Cage Press for the beautiful prizes donated to this year's contest!
Now, without further ado, here are the winning essays!
First Place Essay
Orchard Middle School
What’s damaging nature? Humans. If we say Earth is our mother, then nature is our sister. Nature teaches us how to survive in her. And we dig holes and drill out stuff from her insides, then burn them causing poisons to fill the atmosphere. That pollutes the air preventing the sun from shining on the fields properly. In nature I learned that you can be free whenever you like. But more importantly I have learned that our lifestyle causes a lot of damage.
We have killed off vast amounts of Earth’s ecology, turning what used to be delicate ecosystems into deserts. So, a question we all should be asking is: how can we help? Walk or bike instead of driving a car- a good walk is a conversation between the walker and the environment. A simple walk through nature can provide hope and inspiration. Plant trees- they absorb carbon dioxide. It sounds cliché but we must act now before it’s too late.
Nature is not only enchanting but healing too. Her pleasures may be plain, but are kindly and she’s native to us. She’s our friend and will provide. Nature is consistent, she’ll grow even when cut. Those who’ve harmed nature have had their day with her beauty; now let our children have theirs with her beauty that remains. If we consider how much we really belong to nature, we shouldn’t care so much for building cities. Nature helps us when we are sick and instead, we are making nature sick. Knowing that nature is part of our only home means knowing we have to take care of her.
Second Place Essay
Cascade Christian Academy
Cascade Christian Academy
What Nature means to me and what is has taught me
What nature means to me. Nature means spending time with family. Rafting The Wenatchee River, canoeing and rafting down the icicle river in Leavenworth, skiing down Bombers Bowl on Mission Ridge, Hiking the many trails in our magnificent mountains, exploring caves, beaches, and canyons. Slow walks through the beautiful blooming balsamroots and flowers. Feeling the breeze hit my face as I ride my motorcycle in our orchards. Splashing in puddles after a warm summer rain. Listening to the songs of nature, thunder booming, birds singing, streams splashing, and wind howling through the giant trees. The beauty of nature’s colors inspires me. White pear blossoms, bright green moss, vivid autumn leaves, and white diamond snow. Nature has taught me many things like how to be a good worker. Just watch the bees, the ants, and the beaver. It also has taught me that it is very fragile. The places we love to go to can be destroyed in an instant by mudslides, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, tsunamis, floods and forest fires. Nature has also taught me to show respect, it is important to keep it clean, especially our rivers and streams. It also has taught me love, as every spring mother animals take care of their newborn babies. It is a perfect example of God! Also it has taught me that I will always have a place to go to when I’m sad, hurting or upset. A place of peace and rest. A quiet place to spend time with God always.
Third Place Essay
Icicle River Middle School
Icicle River Middle School
What have I learned from nature? Hmm, that seems almost impossible to answer. But not for me. The things I have learned from nature are vast in number, and amazing in characteristic. Such as the fact that no matter where you are, you’re surrounded by the enlightening sounds of the wind whispering through the trees that you’re next to, or the snow sparkling as the sun rises over the wondrous white mountains.
Now, if you don’t mind, I would like to tell you how I find this important. The way I find this important is that with this glorious and beautiful sparkle, we would better understand how the crystals may form during the frigid hours of the night, and we would understand how the light hitting these crystals reflects such beautiful colors in a wondrous pattern of hypnotic, frigid beauty.
Okay, well, now you know something I do. But now I’m going to five an opinion. I love this one scene I can’t get out of my head. Here it is: A waterfall surrounded by trees, dropping into a pool of stilled water surrounded by rocks at its edge, with grass and many other species of greenery surrounding this little oasis. There are trees that reach toward the sky blocking it out until you reach this little pool. There the trees part, revealing blue sky and blazing sun. This is wonderful, and this is its own ecosystem. I learned that this self-evident ecosystem is needed. Now let me explain how this is important. Without this ecosystem, we would be that much closer to death. I say this because every ecosystem is founded by another.
What have I learned from nature? Hmm, that seems almost impossible to answer. But not for me. How do you think I got all this?