We are proud to announce that Eliot ‘24 is the first-place winner of the 2022 Aldo Leopold Writing Contest! The annual contest encourages students in grades 6-12 to submit essays in response to a compelling prompt inspired by Aldo Leopold’s writing. The essays, which are intended to provide students the opportunity to express their views about conservation issues and the consequences of climate change, are judged by a panel of volunteer judges who take into consideration the student’s writing style, eloquence, how well they responded to the prompt, and the essay’s connection to Leopold’s “land ethic.” This year's question was: What actions have you taken to help “tend the land” (such as protecting soil, plants, animals, wildlife habitat, water sources, etc.), or what are your ideas for how you and other young people can help counteract the impacts of climate disruption on the different elements of your local environment?
Eliot, the first-place winner in grades 10-12, said, “The essay prompt was to reflect on Aldo Leopold's ‘The Land Ethic’ from A Sand County Almanac and write about our personal experiences with humans disrupting the ‘circuit of soils, plants, and animals’ that he writes about. I was definitely hesitant to take that on at first, but I tried to connect my own experience from a place of privilege to my local community and to Aldo Leopold's teachings. I'm super grateful to have had this opportunity—and all the support from my teachers and family—and I hope my essay and the other essays that were given awards can inspire change.”
More than 200 New Mexico students entered this year’s contest and prizes were awarded in three grade categories—grades 6-7, grades 8-9, and grades 10-12. The first-place essayists in each of the three categories received a $750 cash prize and all honorable mentions received a $50 cash prize. All student honorees also received environmental books to add to their personal libraries.
About the Leopold Writing Program:
The mission of the Leopold Writing Program is to inspire an ethic of caring for our planet by cultivating diverse voices through the spoken and written word. The non-profit organization seeks effective and inclusive ways to engage the current and next generation of citizen leaders in the urgent conversation to address changing realities brought about by climate disruption, biodiversity loss, growing demand for fresh water, and other global conservation issues.
The Leopold Writing Program hosts three multigenerational programs each year, including the Aldo Leopold Writing Contest, the Aldo and Estella Leopold Residency, and the Annual Leopold Lecture (returning in 2023). For more information and to read the winning essays, visit www.leopoldwritingprogram.org