Youth Writing Contest Winners

Poem Category


By Danielle Apawu, 4th grade, Zach Elementary


A universe vast and beautiful
Keeps changing, thriving, creating anew
Sprouting, forming these masterpieces


Plants becoming artists without a single word.
This cycle continuing to develop and blossom
By holding each other’s hand and saying,


I have you here with me.
Leave behind remnants of your impact, your talent.
And I will be there for you.
They continue to lend a hand for years
Each one making the same powerful promise
But each one leaving behind a different story.
Now falling small and shriveled, plant life call out to us,
Help me, please help me
Like I held out my hand for my kind,
Will you support me?
Will you stand by my side?
Will you save me, and let me live? peacefully?


We hear their cries of sorrow,
We know they will soon vanish,
Leaving not a trace of their remnants
But will you extend your hand
And hold on tight?


By Luella Tomlin, 8th  grade, Lesher Middle School

Close your eyes

And open your ears.


To the glory around you.

The chickadees chirping, fighting for seed.

A car zooming by

through the puddles of last night’s storm.

Winchimes, gently brushing one another to complete their melody.

Sparky, the neighbor’s dog

growling at a squirrel encroaching on her land.

And the sweet swaying of the willow branches

creaking ever so slightly as they dance in the breeze.

And now,


The soft sounds of your breath

intaking the life-giving atmosphere

You and I are so deeply connected to all of this.

Because we all share one home



Earth Day Haiku

By Harry Williams, 4th Grade


Tons of food wasting

Don’t throw away yummy food

Do not keep wasting


Paper bags around

Stumbling trash makes pollution.

Don’t litter around


Nothing on paper

Still throwing it in the trash

Trees being wasted


Drawings on paper

Filling up the page to keep

The easiest way


Make it in the trash

Don’t throw it on the dirt floor

If you can reuse


Tons of stuff is wasted everyday Food, Paper with nothing on it. Climate change is happening because people throwing away food making dump trucks use fossil fuels to make the climate change. People drive one person home, Instead Carpool drive multiple people home. Also get some exercise, you can scooter, bike, rollerblade, or walk. We can change if we just try to eat all your food, draw something interesting to hang or keep it somewhere. Don’t just dump it when you put your time into making that amazing drawing. We can change if we try.

Essay Category

Growing a Healthy Future

By Shoshana Goldstein, 5th grade, Dunn Elementary


I imagine a future that I want to live in where all of our food is grown sustainably. Some farms use pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers to increase the likelihood that their crop will grow without being eaten by bugs or killed by weeds. Pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers are not sustainable so we have to eliminate them in our future. Pesticides are not sustainable because they kill pests (bad bugs) but they also are chemicals that we are putting into the ground and air. Similarly to pesticides, herbicides kill weeds with chemicals that also go into our earth’s air and ground. Lastly chemical fertilizers are plain chemicals that go into the ground and help the plant grow. These are not sustainable because they poison our soil. Smaller farms that do not use these items will have to replace farms that do use them in order to help our economy and world.


One way of farming that is sustainable is Organic farming. Organic farming uses no pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. Rather than using those products Organic farmers do the work themselves. Organic farmers will use pheromone traps, which let out pollinating insects or ones who eat pests. They will also use trap crops, for weeds they will mow and turn up weeds along the edges of their fields or just after harvest. Instead of chemical fertilizers Organic farms sometimes use compost. Compost is very sustainable because the process of compost is when a person or family puts food in the compost, the compost turns into rich soil with lots of nutrients in it, you grow a plant in it which becomes a good and healthy plant because of the great nutrient full soil, then the cycle starts over again. By the time I am grown up, I want most farms to grow organically.


A sustainable practice of growing food is rotating crops and embracing diversity. What rotating crops and embracing diversity means is not only growing one crop but many different varieties of food. For example if we only grew potatoes because one plant can produce up to six full potatoes then the people who do not like potatoes will be unhappy. Also, if you grow potatoes in one field in 2023 then you can not grow them again there till 2027 or they will not grow healthy, this is not sustainable. By the time I grow up I want all farms to grow up to at least two different crops so we can have a more diverse agricultural system.


Organic ways are better for us and the planet because it teaches us to persevere and it does not put chemicals into our air and ground. Rotating crops and embracing diversity is better for Earth because we need diversity. Organic farming and rotating crops and embracing diversity are better for the world and my dream is to have every farmer do these practices.

Polar Bears

By Lydia Jiang, 4th grade, Zach Elementary


We think of most polar bears as ferocious bears. However, on the inside they are super cute animals. They have those little eyes, and stubby tails. They have those midnight black noses, and snow white fur. They also have those tiny ears to hear. Cubs are the cutest of all. They may also start doing some super cute things. For example, once a polar bear was caught sledding on its tummy.


Despite all this cuteness, a polar bear is also a very unique bear, well not just for a bear, but also for all animals. For starters, it does not hibernate. Many other bears hibernate in their dens. For example, the grizzly bear. Hibernating means to sleep during the winter, and wake up in the spring.


Another special thing about the polar bear is that it can swim, not many other bears can do that. For example, the panda can’t swim (it’d be weird to see a panda swimming). Polar bears also swim perfectly, unlike many bears or even animals.


Although it looks like the polar bear has white fur it actually has transparent fur, and black fur on the inside. Barely any animals look like that. Well, why does it look white? It’s because when the sun reflects off the fur, it turns white. Making the polar bear white also helps it blend in with the snow. However, the polar bear is at the top of the food chain, so it probably wouldn’t get eaten. The polar bear also seems to be the powerfulest animal of the north pole (not including people with guns). Instead, they have to blend in because they need to hunt seals.


Despite all of this, polar bears are close to extinction, because of us humans. We humans have been giving these cute little critters extinction. There are so many reasons why. The main reasons that polar bears are close to extinction is because of global warming, junk thrown in the ocean, and people killing them for decoration, warmth, or money.


One reason polar bears are close to extinction is because humans are “heating” the earth. This is caused by pollution, made by factories, cars, and even other types of transportation. For starters, have you ever seen smoke coming out of factories? This smoke comes from producing things, like teddy bears or even bicycles. However, when this smoke or gas comes out of the factories it forms pollution, which causes global warming, and melts the ice where polar bears live. To better understand this, let’s talk about how global warming works. The warmth of the sun comes into the earth, and due to the pollution the warmth is stuck because it can’t come out of the atmosphere. Then when it’s trapped, the earth gets warmer and warmer. Due to this warmth, the ice starts melting and gives polar bears less places to live. Imagine about one million years later if all the polar bears just turned to random fossils. You’d think about it like a dinosaur, you don’t know what color it is, you don’t know how furry the fur was. For us right now, we can see the polar bears, we actually know how they look. We know what they eat. However, you can help in this situation by driving electric cars, or bike and walk more. You can also put up posters to save the earth. You can even start a club on helping polar bears and pollution. Make a party;on snow days start a P. J. party! At the party tell your friends all about polar bears. Hand out fliers about polar bears to your classmates. Make a video about polar bears on Youtube. Write an essay; try making a point on saving polar bears.


Another  reason polar bears are close to extinction is that junk has been thrown into the ocean. Soda cans and fishermen nets have been thrown into the ocean every now and then. This problem has been trapping many sea creatures including turtles. This junk in the ocean has been trapping fish, which seals eat. Without fish seals wouldn’t be able to eat, and soon will die. Without seals to eat polar bears have nothing to eat, and soon will die too. This could lead to instant extinction. It is called the food chain. Another way how junk thrown in the ocean affects a polar bear is when the polar bear swims it may get caught in one of the nets.  These polar bears could easily die. Another way how junk in the ocean leads to extinction for polar bears is that they may eat the plastic. Plastic is not good for any animal’s body. It can cause an extreme death. Well, why would they eat plastic? Since there are less and less seals, polar bears need to find food to eat. The only food that will seem to be on the ground is the plastic that has been thrown in the ocean by humans. Maybe while the mother is finding food for herself becoming pregnant, she may die right before her cubs are born. Why? Because she ate plastic and junk. This is worse than death to one, it was death to three. The mother and the two cubs. If you want to protect these animals, do not throw junk on the floor or the ocean. If you throw junk on the floor it may get blown away into the ocean. For another example of why junk affects polar bears still has to do with seals. Since there are less seals, polar bears are starting to fight for food. These bears won’t give up until they fight the other one to death. Because of this polar bears are dying rapidly.


Yet another reason these cute polar bears are close to extinction  is because people have been killing them for warmth and decoration. Indigenous People and nonindigenous hunters have been killing them. Indigenous people to the arctic use dogs to corner the polar bear first. After cornering the polar bear they shoot. Traditionally, Indigenous people use arrows. Nowadays, people use guns. However, these Indigenous People still use their dogs to corner the cute polar bear. Indigenous People to the arctic use almost every part of a polar bear. They eat the meat, use the fat to make fuel, and the hides to make clothing. They dry out the gallbladder and heart for medicine, and keep the teeth for talismans. Although this seems to be very useful to them, polar bears are dying so much because of this. On the other hand, Non Indigenous hunters have used helicopters and snowmobiles to chase down polar bears. Then they hunt them with rifles at a safe distance. These snowmobiles and helicopters don’t only kill these polar bears, but make pollution. The pollution is so close it can melt the ice before  you say ‘boo.’ Nonindigenous People use the polar bear for similar reasons. Meat, fuel, warmth, and even decoration. However, having a dead polar bear on the wall is not the best thing to have. People also make money for making talismans out of their teeth. Us people may think it is so cool to have toothed necklaces, but a polar bear would not be happy about it. Hunting polar bears is not a good choice. The good choices would be to try to actually protect them. Set up a lemonade stand, then hold out fliers to anybody who crosses about polar bears. Write a book about how to save polar bears. Maybe even just about pollution. Pollution hurts many animals, not just polar bears. For example, turtles, pandas, rhinos, and leopards. There’s barely any white rhinos left! Or giant pandas! They are part of our world too!


In conclusion, the basic reasons that polar bears are close to extinction is because of global warming, junk thrown in the ocean, and people killing them for decoration, warmth, or money. Now imagine you are in the year 3032. The whole world is covered with ocean. Most animals, including polar bears, are to extinction. You live in a little sand house, only eating seaweed, and fish. You can’t eat the pears there used to be on the land. Now that the earth is just ocean, people seem to be going extinct too. Maybe there will be a kind of  giant animal that hunt us for our human teeth to make their necklaces. What do you think about that? You know why! The earth used to be a perfect land. Until humans moved in. They started factories, giving instant extinction to lots of animals. They cut down trees for paper, giving just a bit toooooo much pollution. Now, this is what people get in return. Did we want this to happen? No! Right now, we feel like it’s alright. Years later, before we protect the earth will it happen? Will the earth just turn to the ocean? Will all this land become blue? Will humans come to extinction too? Will the future we dreamed of get ruined? Will we have to live on Mars? If we live on Mars, will there be enough air? How long will we be able to live on another planet? Before we let all this happen we need to protect our wonderful earth.

Story Category

Save the World

By Gwen Silva, 4th grade, Zach Elementary


Akira is 13 years old and is living on Saturn with her mother, Eria, and her father, Jameson. Akira’s parents are part of the supreme council regarding all things in our solar system. Life for Akira has always been a soft autumn breeze, she has had friends, parents who loved her, and everything in between. But one day, Akira was creeping down the long, seemingly endless hallway. Her parents are, of course, having a meeting. The High Councilor has come to speak with them. He has never come before! Although, Akira has no clue why. “I need to know!” thought Akira. Her mind was bursting with worry, excitement, and curiosity.


Akira had called out of school ill that day, because she had heard her parents whispering in the dead of night, about the High Councilor visiting, and she’d snuck into her parent’s busy, massive office. As she slipped down the stairs, nearly tripping twice, she reached the tiled floor where her parents worked. For they had never told her where they worked, or what they worked on, Akira was forced to check several maps, each of them in the paths so open, she held her breath every time her eyes were stuck on the map, and not on the hallway, where someone could see her and report her. Akira felt panic rise in her chest as she walked along the empty hallway.


The names of her parents were carved into the doors of their offices, and she nestled her ear on the frigid, metal door. “Ah, it is so good to see you, Mr. Balacha.” chortled her father. “It is good to see you, too.” said Mr. Balacha. His voice was soft and oily. “You see, the reason I have sought your most needed attention is because a nearby planet, called Earth, is in grave danger. It seems its inhabitants are treating it as though it is one of their batteries with infinite power, and is indestructible.” said Mr. Balacha, concerned. Suddenly, the world in front of Akira’s eyes seemed shaky, and  Mr. Balacha’s voice repeated in her mind, each time it was louder. Akira didn’t know what was happening. To her this was the worst thing possible.


When Akira’s parents had gotten home, she had barely been able to climb through the door and swoop the floral blanket over her head. “Hi, Akira. How’re you feeling?” Akira’s mother asked. “Hmh? Fine.” Said Akira, trying her hardest to sound as though she had just awoke. “Can I ask you something, Akira, dear?” her mother asked. “Yeah?” muttered Akira once more. “You see, there is a severe problem regarding a nearby planet, Earth. The only way to fix this is to educate. For example, the temperatures have risen about one degree Fahrenheit. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is.” Akira’s mother fretted. Her voice sounded like it was the whisper of an oyster without a shell, or of a shaved bear. “T-that’s terrible!” replied Akira, her wound from this earlier discovery was still fresh, and it felt as though it had been sliced again. Eria limped over to her room, whispering to Akira’s father, Jameson, “You ask her. I can’t do it”.  She slipped into the shadows. 


“Oof, Akira, could you travel to the planet, Earth, and educate the people about how to help save the planet.” Jameson said, trying to sound casual. “For example, teach them how to compost, which means to save food scrapes and some trash to create soil, so it doesn’t end up in a landfill, also, if people use the compost as soil, they can make their own garden, so they don’t have to drive and release fossil fuels in the air to get to the store. Plus, make sure they are aware of which light bulbs are the most sustainable. The people of Earth must understand that they are hurting the planet, and soon, the infection will bleed from the planet to the people. Educate them so that the future generations will understand how special their home is,” chanted Akira’s father. Akira felt so elated her heart sang for her to be able to solve a problem and to meet the people from Earth. She already knew exactly what to say.


“Of course!” gushed Akira. “Climate change is one of the biggest problems, and we need to solve it before it’s too late.” said Akira, she had never felt this surge of pride, and hope. All she knew was that she would be part of the contribution to save the world.

Performance & Song Category

Mother Earth’s Powers

By Juliet E. Lundquist


Mother Earth oh Mother Earth

Mother Earth oh Mother Earth

Mother Earth you bring us shelter, rock and you bring the breeze

Mother Earth oh Mother Earth

Mother Earth oh Mother Earth

Mother Earth you bring us food, plants and berries, plus you bring cherries

Mother Earth oh Mother Earth

Mother Earth oh Mother Earth

Mother Earth you bring us the needs, the needs, the 4 needs, the four needs

Mother Earth oh Mother Earth

Mother Earth oh Mother Earth

Mother Earth you bring us water, creeks and streams, plus you bring beams of water

Mother Earth oh Mother Earth

Mother Earth oh Mother Earth

Mother Earth you bring us space that is our habitat

Ohhhhhhhhhh Mother Earth

Wasting is Devastating

By Brooklyn Morton & London Lorenz, 4th grade, Zach Elementary


People keep wasting food and it is getting out of hand

they are wasting our  precious land.

The land we take is where the animals roam

soon they won’t have a home.

Homeless people on the streets want nothing but a bite to eat.

40% is wasted of all food

we’ve never tasted.

We established a goal in 2015

to cut down food waste so we can breath!

30% of methane is spread around the world

that may not be clean.

Stop being clueless we can do this!

Is this how it will end

By Flora Clem


Is this how it is to end

In fire

In smoke

In death

In plastic

Someone cries out

A loved one dead

Who could it be?

A parent

A child

A brother

A sister

A friend

In your head you think

“Another one?”


All around

The corpses of the once trees

Above you

The ghosts of the birds that


to freely soar in the sky

The emptiness of the ponds where the fish


To swim

Is this how it is to end?


The sun never shines here

Smoke thick

Mortar brick

Is all the world is made of

To the west

The mountains

Once upon a time

Snow capped

Once upon a time


Once upon a time


once upon a time


Now dusty

And cracked



Is this how it is to end?


The only thing

Left of the once

Alive world


The wind


It howls, mourning

For the loss of the birds


For the absence of the



for the absence of the



for the missing


It has carried them away

Soon it will carry you away too

Is this how it is to end?




Yet Reversible

Time is ticking

Still time left

World is dying

Not gone yet

Water still here

Plants still here

Light still here

Life still here


Hope still here


Save your water

Reuse your plastic

Plant your trees

Turn off your lights

Remember the ocean

Remember the deer in the valleys

Remember the sun shining through the trees

Remember the birds chirping in the morning

Remember the little brooke that winds through the meadow





Save your water


You want it to be gone


Reduce your plastic usage


That’s all you want to see


Plant your trees


You want to be choking on every breath of air


Turn off your lights


you want it to be dark forever


Time ticking

But not gone yet








This is not how it is to end.