RESULTS! - 2017 Nature Writing Contest

We received some great entries for our 2017 Nature Writing Contest which made judging quite difficult. We congratulate Sanya Mehra and Joanne Kornoelje for being our winner and runner-up, respectively! Below find excerpts from their entries. Thank you to all participants and we look forward to hosting this contest again!

Winner: Sanya Mehra, My Local Flora and Fauna

Lush, emerald green grass crunches under my feet as I take an afternoon stroll in my backyard. The sun rises above the treetops, and I stand there, encircled by evergreens and oaks. The groundhog whose family has lived under my house’s deck for as long as I can remember is stretched out several yards away. In its delicate hands is an apple with several bites already taken out of it. It only takes a couple minutes before the groundhog decides that it would rather munch on some marigolds planted nearby and tosses the apple aside. I stride over to the deck where the wood has given into the groundhog’s gnawing. Right beside it is its burrow, sheltered under the refuge of a bush.

Runner-Up: Joanne Kornoelje, Patterns in Melting Ice

Three days before my observations in this essay, it had snowed. I had the opportunity to watch Canada geese walk on (frozen) water. On this day, it’s a relatively mild 42 F. The snow is mostly gone, and the only evidence of the geese is their poops, on the walkway and in the lake. Immediately I noticed the surface of the lake. It no longer had that enigmatic “water” color. A mosaic pattern had appeared across the surface, with lighter paths creating a pattern, almost like a street map. The pattern was stationary, which to me said it still was ice, or at least icy, beginning to melt. Had this pattern formed as ice began to melt? The mosaic effect persisted throughout the lake, although it was more noticeable in the area where the Peckman River flows in at the southwestern corner. This river is slow moving. In normal times it can be difficult to see the water moving at all. There was a noticeable difference between the southwestern corner where water flows in and the northeastern corner where it’s getting ready to flow out. In the northeastern corner there were ice circles forming, with a boundary ribbon of slushy ice around it. The following day I returned to the lake and found the mosaic no longer in evidence. The temperature had risen again, reaching a high of about 50 degrees. No doubt the ice was melting further. Large circles – whether complete or an outline – had replaced the mosaics throughout the lake. The complete circles were a lighter color compared to the surrounding water. The outline circles showed a darker ring embedded in a surrounding area of the lighter color.