Essay Winner Brittany Ash
A popular event in the University’s Coast Day Festival is the announcement of the winners of the annual fifth-grade essay contest that is designed to spark youngsters’ interest in the ocean. This year, the students were asked to write about the following theme: “When Henry Hudson sailed up the Delaware Bay in 1609, he was amazed at the beauty of the pristine marshes and forests. What do we need to do to insure the future health of our bay?”
Six winners were selected based on the accuracy and originality in their essay and were presented with awards at Coast Day on Sunday, October 7, at the University’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. The teachers of the winning students also were recognized and received numerous books related to marine science for use in their classroom.
Brittany Ash, of Frankford Elementary School in Frankford, earned the top prize of a $100 savings bond and a copy of Delaware Sea Grant’s award-winning book The Delaware Estuary: Rediscovering a Forgotten Resource. “I was excited and surprised about winning first place — it was the first time I had ever won a contest,” said Ash.
In her winning essay, Ash talked about how she has enjoyed walking on the beaches since she was a toddler. She suggested many ways to improve the health of the Delaware Bay — from taking a bike or walking instead of driving, to motivating the government to participate in the bay’s cleanup. Ash concluded her essay on a positive note by saying, “The beautiful bay can be preserved. It just takes a little help, cooperation, time and effort.”
Ash’s teacher, Jennifer Athey, has had her class participate in the essay contest for the past several years. “My students all live right here near the beach, and it is important for them to learn about the ocean at an early age,” said Athey. “The essay contest gives me a way to introduce the topic in a fun and exciting way.”
O’Brian Handy, also a student in Athey’s class, won the second-place award of a $75 savings bond and a copy of The Delaware Estuary. Handy recognized that people must first be aware that our waterways are being contaminated before they can take action. He recommended that people dispose of their trash appropriately and that industries should implement plans to dispose of their waste. Handy also mentioned the importance of our ecosystem and concluded by saying that “we should try to protect it the best way we can.”
Winner of the third prize — a $50 savings bond and a copy of The Delaware Estuary— was Kate Pierce, a student of Maryanne Lessard at William Henry Middle School in Dover. In her essay, Pierce suggested picking up plastic pieces and cigarette butts because they decompose very slowly. She also encouraged “all Delawareans to put their effort into saving this area before it is too late.”
Three students received honorable mentions and received a copy of The Delaware Estuary. Carly Marconi, in Joan Balback’s class at East Millsboro Elementary School in Millsboro, urged everybody to pitch in and help clean the bay, and “we will be very happy with the results.” In her imaginative essay, Erika Cook, also a student in Athey’s class in Frankford, wrote that Henry Hudson would be shocked if he were to see the bay today — filled with oil, trash, and debris — and how he would form a group to clean up the bay. In her essay, Yumna Allie, a student in Gil Green’s class at Anna P. Mote School in Wilmington, discussed how the Delaware Bay could once again be a land of beautiful forests, marshes, and freshwater swamps if all the companies and residents of Delaware help control pollution.
The essay contest is sponsored by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program. Teachers interested in having their classes participate in next year’s competition should contact Bill Hall, marine education specialist for the UD Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service, for more information. Hall’s number is (302) 645-4253. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
FIRST PLACE — 2001 COAST DAY FIFTH-GRADE ESSAY CONTEST
“Save Our Beautiful Bay"
by Brittany Ash
Frankford Elementary School
Teacher: Ms. Jennifer Athey
Since I was a toddler I’ve enjoyed walking on the sandy beaches collecting colorful seashells along the bay. On sunny afternoons, I have crabbed along the bulkheads and have come to love eating fresh seafood, especially oyster fritters.
My fear is the bay I love won’t be here for future generations to enjoy. Chemicals get into the water infecting and killing sea life. Each year industries are dumping millions of pounds of wastewater into our bay. Rainwater washes harmful chemicals into the bay such as fertilizers and pesticides, also oil and anti-freeze from automobiles. When one bird or fish is infected it affects all sea life because they feed off of each other.
We can’t be expected to make the big changes that are needed but can do the little things to improve the health of our bay. Instead of driving, take a bike ride, walk, or take a bus. Volunteer for beach cleanup days, and make it daily practice to clean up trash.
Our government needs to be motivated to participate in the bay’s cleanup. Federal money can plant grass on the dunes preventing erosion, plan beach rescues, and treat the wastewater dumped in the bay. We can write letters to our senators to pass laws for protecting and cleaning our bays.
Restoring this natural resource could mean a lot to our future generations. The beautiful bay can be preserved. It just takes a little help, cooperation, time and effort.