OCCA Announces 2014 Environmental Essay Contest Winners

COOPERSTOWN – Following a competitive essay contest, the Otsego County Conservation Association has awarded nine Otsego County middle-school students with a week-long stay at a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Summer Camp.

Otsego County students ages 11-14 were invited to compete for DEC camperships via the essay contest. In 750 words or less, they were asked to consider the question “What does the phrase ‘think globally, act locally’ mean to you with regard to the environment?” and give examples of how a person can apply this to their everyday life. Middle-school teachers were encouraged to incorporate the essay contest into their lesson plans.

The nine winning essays received top scores in a field of 120 submissions. Students who have earned a week-long trip to DEC environmental education camp, based on the scoring of their essays by the judging panel, are: Sarah Parr, Josie Hovis, and Amanda Snyder, Cooperstown Central School; Addison Harmon, Milford Central School; Ariana Brown-Christman, Liz Knudson, Teagan Mackey, and Hunter Roy, Oneonta Middle School; and Lucy Meehan, Worcester Central School. Alternates are: Tieyn Boxill-Yakalis, OMS; Rylee Merwin, MCS; and William Friedman, CCS.

OCCA will sponsor the campers at $350 per student, thanks to funds provided by private donors. Alternates will be rewarded for their hard work as well with a small cash prize and the opportunity to attend camp if a spot should open up, and Delilah Griger of Cooperstown – who authored the best essay written by a student not applying to attend camp – will receive $50.

“We scored 120 essays this year written by students from Cooperstown, Milford, Oneonta, Schenevus, and Worcester schools. Many thanks to teachers Kathy Hardison, Noreen Kenyon, Amy Parr and Alma Prior, who made the essay-writing exercise part of their class work,” said Darla M. Youngs, OCCA executive director.

“The judges enjoyed reading the entries. We congratulate our top nine writers and recognize the hard work that went into all the essays. There are no losers here, and with so many students showing such awareness and thoughtfulness on topics including conservation, recycling, and preservation, the big winner is the environment,” said Youngs.

The authors of the top-scoring essays will enjoy a week at NYSDEC camp this summer, where they will spend their time immersed in the natural environment and will enjoy a balance of environmental education, sportsman education, and outdoor fun.

“Our goal for next year is to have even more teachers incorporate the essay into their class work. The more kids we can get thinking about being good stewards of the environment, the better,” Youngs said.

OCCA is a private, non-profit environmental membership organization dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.


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