Do you know any fifth graders who attend school in Delaware? Then get them involved in the annual Coast Day Essay Contest. The essay contest is designed to spark youngsters' interest in the ocean, while at the same time teach them how to research a topic with the help of the library and other resources and use that information to write an essay in their own words.
The top three winning essayists will receive U.S savings bonds -- a $100 bond for first prize, a $75 bond for second prize, and a $50 bond for third prize. In addition, each winner and honorable mention will receive a copy of The Delaware Estuary: Rediscovering a Forgotten Resource, which was published by the Delaware Sea Grant College Program. The teachers of the winning students also will receive resource materials for use in their classrooms.
The winners and their teachers also will be recognized at Coast Day, which will be held Sunday, October 2, at the University of Delaware's Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, and in press releases to the media.
Coast Day is held every year on the first Sunday in October. Sponsored by the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, it is an annual educational festival and showcase for Delaware's rich marine resources. The event typically attracts more than 10,000 visitors and has won state and national awards for its efforts to promote environmental education and stewardship.
The essay contest first became part of Coast Day in 1983. Since its inception, students have written about a wealth of marine-related topics such as deep-sea exploration, the future of the Delaware Bay, the horseshoe crab, and many others. Last year, students were asked to describe a day in the life of one of the many ocean critters that live in the Delaware Bay.
"This year, students are being asked to imagine that they are a captain on a ship caught in a major storm in the Delaware Bay prior to the age of electronics," says Bill Hall, education specialist for the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service and organizer of the contest. "Will they end up shipwrecked, or will they survive the perfect storm?"
According to Hall, the essays may be creative. However, all written descriptions such as type of cargo and ship must be accurate. In addition, students must realize that modern navigational aids like weather reports or radio were not available to assist in sailing ships from port to port. Essays should be approximately 250 words.
Jonathan M. Rosenblatt, of Albert Einstein Academy in Wilmington, was last year's winner. He wrote his essay on one of his favorite animals -- the dogfish shark. It was the first time that Rosenblatt's teacher, Karen Bradley, had her class participate in the essay contest. "The students learned research skills, how to take notes while reading about a subject, and how to write an essay that adhered to certain guidelines," said Bradley.
For a complete list of rules, visit http://www.ocean.udel.edu/coastday. For more information, please contact the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service at (302) 645-4346 or Rita Baty at firstname.lastname@example.org.