Entries for the 2008 Coast Day essay contest, which is open to any 5th grader in Delaware, are being accepted until Monday, September 22. The theme for this year's contest is “Delaware’s Wetlands: How I Would Like to Help Keep Them Wonderful.”
Contest winners will receive prizes and recognition at this year's Coast Day, which will be held on October 5, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, Del.
The top three winning essayists will receive bookstore gift cards valued at $100 for first prize, $75 for second prize, and $50 for third prize. The teachers of the winning students will receive resource materials for use in their classrooms. The winners and their teachers also will be recognized at Coast Day and through news releases to the media.
“Since the contest is so early in the year, it's a fun way to get the students not only thinking about writing goals, but also about the importance of connecting to the community,” Brandi Townsend, 5th grade teacher at Richard Shields Elementary School, in Lewes, Del., said of the contest.
Townsend had her class take part in the contest, which is designed to spark students’ interest in marine environments while teaching them how to research a topic and use that information to write an essay in their own words, for the first time last year. One of her students, Tuathla Hefferan, won first place for her essay on the theme of “The Journey of a Drop of Water: Your Watershed Connection to the Coast.” Townsend explained that the contest allowed her students to work on a variety of skills.
“We first had to research watersheds and the water cycle. We then brainstormed possible paths and discussed what the journey would be like for the ‘drops.’ We then have to think about our writing traits such as ideas, personal voice, and fluency in connection with general conventions,” she said. “Creativity is essential even when utilizing research and scientific fact. That is a great lesson for students.”
Coast Day, an annual educational festival and showcase for Delaware's rich marine resources, is held every year on the first Sunday in October at the University of Delaware's Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. Sponsored by UD's College of Marine and Earth Studies and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, Coast Day attracts more than 10,000 visitors and has won state and national awards for its efforts to promote environmental education and stewardship. Coast Day is free.
The essays, which will be considered only if they are postmarked by Sept. 22 and are under 400 words in length, should be sent to:
Coast Day Essay Contest
Univ. of Delaware – Marine Public Education Office
222 South Chapel St., Room 103
Newark, DE 19716-3530
For a complete list of Coast Day Essay Contest rules and topic resources, and to learn more about Coast Day, visit www.ocean.udel.edu/coastday.
For more information, contact Lisa Tossey at (302) 831-8175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.