Kauffmann Environmental Writing Prize Awarded

North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) is pleased to announce the winners of the first annual Kauffmann Prize for Environmental Writing. The John Kauffmann Prize for Environmental Writing is an annual prize open to all high school students in the state. Entries were 1,500 word nonfiction essays about any environmentally-related topic. Essays could include writing about nature, environmental or political activism, scholarship, a science-based topic, a personal memoir, or simply good storytelling on an environmental theme. Students in ninth through twelfth grades during the current academic year were invited to submit one entry.

kauffmannThe winners are:

1st Prize
Milla Rosenfeld, Freeport; North Yarmouth Academy, Grade 12, “Orcas Island”

2nd Prize
Olivia Stanley, Bar Harbor; Mount Desert Island High School, Grade 11, “The Ocean”

3rd Prize
Parker Elkins, Edgecomb; North Yarmouth Academy, Grade 11, “Memories”

Honorary Mention
Callie Cunningham, Rome; Lawrence High School, Grade 12, “Environmentally Safe Camping”

Students from nine different high schools throughout the state of Maine comprised the entry pool. On Thursday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m. in the NYA Middle School Community Room (172 Main Street, Yarmouth), there will be a prize ceremony, and the winners will read their essays. The ceremony and reading is open to the public.

“All of the winning essays demonstrated not only strong writing, but also a willingness to think deeply about some aspect of personal relationship to place, or to express research-based advocacy of positive environmental practices,” said Kauffmann Program director Ian Ramsey. “Milla Rosenfeld’s winning essay, ‘Orcas Island,’ was particularly notable for its skillful combination of personal narrative, observation of surrounding ecology, and vivid description.” Rosenfeld described the subject of her essay as, “how I feel when I hike one of my family’s favorite places on Orcas Island.” She explained further, “At a time when the natural world is at risk, I think it’s important to remember that the environment has a personal meaning to each of us; it’s not just a ’cause.’”

The winning entries will be posted soon on the North Yarmouth Academy website, NYA.org. The first place winner will be awarded a prize of $300, second place $200, third place $100, and the honorable mention will receive $50.

The Kauffmann Program seeks to educate students in the larger community about the importance of wilderness and nature. With a focus on environmental thinking, writing, conservation, and wilderness travel, the program is intended to create opportunities for NYA students, high school students across Maine, and the larger community to acknowledge the importance of wilderness conservation and environmental issues. Rosenfeld said of the Kauffmann Program, “I think it’s wonderful, and I think it’s really important to educate students and the general public about our environment and the fact that it needs protecting.”

For more information about the Kauffmann Program, visit https://issuu.com/northyarmouthacademy/docs/kauffmannbrochurejuly2016 or contact Ian Ramsey at iramsey@nya.org.

North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school for toddlers to students in grade twelve. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character, and intellect in its students. For more information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at nya.org.