This is the question that participating 6th, 7th, and 8th graders from across Chelan County answered to participate in Cascadia Conservation District’s third annual Earth Day essay contest. The essay contest was started in order to provide students with the opportunity to contemplate on their experiences with nature and the role we all play in conserving our environment, as well as to recognize those students who show an admirable understanding and dedication to environmental stewardship.
This year’s winner, Ashley Turner, a seventh grader from Foothills Middle School, impressed judges from Cascadia Conservation District, Cascade Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group, and Wenatchee Outdoors with her essay about Saddle Rock. The second-place essay was written by seventh grader Schyler Archer of Icicle River Middle School, while third place went to Megan Phinney, another seventh grader at Foothills Middle School.
The top three essay writers will be invited to spend a day in the field with a professional wildlife biologist from Chelan County PUD who will be conducting wood duck surveys in Confluence State Park in Wenatchee.
Congratulations to this year’s winners and thanks to all of the students and partner organizations that were able to participate in this year’s Earth Day essay contest.
Here are 2013’s winning essays!
Untitled – 3rd Place
By Megan Phinney
You are surrounded by white, the soft snow drifting down from above, the trees standing in the white. Skiing through the quiet forest, slowly, happily, enjoying the marvelous powder. What if that was torn down, ripped away? Replaced by tall smoking buildings? How would you feel? How would you react?
I think mission ridge should be preserved so that people can ski and snowboard in all the beautiful powder.
Have you ever been to mission ridge when it is snowing? It's beautiful, quiet. All you hear are skiers and snowboarders slicing through the powder. It's exhilarating, going to the top of microwave and looking down at the mountain, the valley, the river. The future generations should be able to see that.
Skiing is the best way to enjoy that. You can see the beautiful views and zip down the mountain at the same time! It's like multitasking! Feeling the wind as you lean and sway with the mountain is the most amazing feeling. It's one of the reasons I love this valley.
What if we didn't protect that? People would rip through the mountain and tear out the beautiful trees and views. Build sky scraping possessing plants that kill the environment. We shouldn't let this happen, for the trees and animals who call this mountain home, and for use, the people of Wenatchee who love and enjoy skiing and snowboarding. Conservation of the mountain is important because, it protects trees and we need trees to live.
After you read this, I hope you understand that Mission Ridge is a place for family and friends to be together, for animals to roam and for trees to grow, not a worthless pile of dirt and snow. Mission Ridge should be saved, for the people, but for the animals and trees who live there.
Protecting Natural Beauty - 2nd Place
By Schyler Archer
The variety is important to me because I can go to the beautiful fish hatchery with my horse Zee. It is so peaceful down there because you can hear the birds chirping from all directions, the flow of the slow running river and you can feel the warmth of the sun rays that beam down though the ponderosa pines. It is as peaceful as the rain falling down on your roof when you are sleeping.
The next good thing about our variety is the river down at bam beach. I swim there almost every day of the summer; it's so fun because you can swim with the currents that take you to the little islands in the middle of the river. Our river is also filled with wonderful wildlife such as, fish, crayfish and river bugs. I love the river and always will.
The last thing I love about our variety is the environment behind my house. There is a big rock made of sandstone on the top of the mountain and all the time in the summer I hike up it with my sketch book and iPod, then once I get on to the rock, I sit on there looking down at my beautiful neighborhood, then draw whatever comes to my mind.
It's so nice where I live, I love it when the wind comes flawlessly down through the valley, because you can feel it’s warm welcome when it blows through your hair. I don't think I would want to live anywhere else.
If we don't protect this not only me, but everyone in my community won't be able to enjoy this natural beauty. So please try to keep the rivers, mountains and everything in the outside world clean and protected.
Earth Day – 1st Place
By Ashley Turner
In the Wenatchee Valley, wherever you look there are new and exciting adventures. Vast Orchards seeming to stretch for an endless amount of time, while the Columbia River meanders through the valley like an overgrown cobra. There are so many sites to explore, protect, yet they are all neglected in any way. So many places to defend, but I'm just here to explain one.
Saddle Rock is one of the most wondrous adventures I have ever been on within Wenatchee. Animals hiding beneath the rocks and under-brush, serene silence so quiet that it seems deafening. The sun beats down on your bare arms, glowing brightly. Nothing is out of place, undisturbed and peaceful.
That is, before you see the beer cans lying in a heap, cigarette butts' peeking out from the pebbles that cover them. Why would people ruin such a site? Are they really so ignorant that they didn't think about the wildlife living there? What about the other people that visit?
People view the mountain as a challenge, or at least I do. It provides me with quality exercise and a magnificent view as my prize once I reach the top. Not only is it an attraction, it's a natural habitat for various animals to live freely and cleanly. Their lives aren't disturbed by the hikers, runners, bikers, and horseback-riders. Everyone and thing is able to live in complete harmony.
Therefore, Saddle Rock should be protected so generations further on can see it, and people can continue to use the mountain for recreational reasons and animals can keep living in their home. There are many beautiful attributes within the Wenatchee valley, and I think that they should be protected.