Every year, scores of fifth-graders throughout Delaware participate in an essay contest that is sponsored by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program. This year, the students were asked to respond to the following theme: “The ocean routinely affects our daily lives, but we do not think about the connection between the ocean, our environment, and our economy. What comes from the ocean and touches your life in one way or another? Remember it may be physical, economical, recreational, related to our food needs, or a combination.”
The annual contest is designed to spark youngsters’ interest in the ocean. After reviewing all the essays, the judges selected five winners, who were presented with awards at Coast Day on Sunday, October 1, at the University’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.
Gregg Brown, of William Henry Middle School in Dover, 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. Brown hopes to become a marine biologist. “It would be a dream come true to discover a new species,” he said.
In his winning essay, Brown described how the ocean can affect our emotions. “The ocean can make us sad, happy, mad, excited, anxious, and scared,” he wrote. He concluded his essay by urging everybody to take care of the ocean. “I want the ocean to be here for future generations to enjoy the way that I am able to enjoy the ocean now.”
Josh Flood, also of William Henry Middle School, won the second-place award of a $75 savings bond and a copy of The Delaware Estuary book. “It was definitely unexpected,” Flood said about winning second place. “I love the ocean and have the greatest respect for it.”
Flood discussed how the ocean plays a big role in his education, diet, and recreational time. He also related how the ocean affects the weather near his home. “My area has been hit with some fairly bad storms, like Hurricane Bertha, Dennis, and Floyd.” Flood also talked about the importance of the ocean. “Treat the ocean well and mankind will go on living; disrespect it and we will have no more drinking water and half of our food source would vanish.”
Winner of the third prize — a $50 savings bond and a copy of The Delaware Estuary book — was Henry Bennett of Frankford Elementary in Frankford. In his essay, Bennett discussed some of the less obvious benefits the ocean provides to both our environmental and economic systems. “If the ocean and bays are healthy, our economy flourishes and recreational opportunities abound,” he wrote.
Ashley Gast, of Anna P. Mote School in Wilmington, and Natalie Miller, Frederick Douglass Intermediate School in Seaford, were the recipients of honorable mention awards. Each received a copy of The Delaware Estuary book. Gast discussed the many things that the ocean provides and warned readers that “our lives depend on keeping the ocean clean!” In her essay, Miller noted how different the world would be without oceans. “If oceans weren’t here, then we would have no clouds. It would be like the desert and always feel like summer.”
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— 2000 COAST DAY FIFTH-GRADE ESSAY CONTEST
"How Does the Ocean Affect You?"
by Gregg Brown
William Henry Middle School
The ocean can affect us in many different ways. It also plays an important role in nature. The ocean is very important to us. If there was no ocean we would lose a lot of resources, and we may never be able to discover treasures of the deep.
The ocean also creates a lot of things for us to do socially. You can go fishing with your family and friends. You can go skiing, play water volleyball, and swimming. I, myself, love to go fishing, and I like nothing better on a hot summer day than to spend the day at the beach with my family and friends. I have fun making sandcastles, riding my boogie board, and swimming in the ocean.
There are a lot of resources (food) that can be found in the ocean. You can catch clams, crabs, eel, seaweed, calamari (squid), and many different kinds of fish. There are over 5,000 sea creatures that live in the ocean. There are some species that have not been discovered yet. I would love to become a marine biologist some day and discover a new species. That would be a dream come true for me.
The ocean can also create many emotions for us. The ocean can make us sad, happy, mad, excited, anxious, and scared. I know when I go swimming in the ocean I am afraid that a shark may be near by, or I fear being stung by a jellyfish. The chances of getting attacked by a shark are very slim. You have a greater chance of being killed by bee stings than being attacked by a shark. Sharks are my favorite animal, and I have many books about sharks and enjoy reading them over and over again.
One thing we have to do is take care of the ocean. We must stop polluting the ocean or we won’t have any of the resources that we get from the ocean, or any ocean at all to enjoy. Cleaning up the ocean and the surrounding area is something we all must take responsibility in doing before it is too late.
The ocean is very fascinating to me. I really do hope that my essay encourages people to stop polluting the ocean and take part in cleaning up the ocean and the shore. I want the ocean to be here for future generations to enjoy the way that I am able to enjoy the ocean now.