The Leopold Writing Program invites New Mexico students in grades 6–12 to submit original essays to the Aldo Leopold Writing Contest. This annual contest asks students throughout the state to write and submit an original essay inspired by the work of conservationist and writer Aldo Leopold.

The contest encourages students to read Leopold’s work, especially “A Sand County Almanac,” and to write an essay on land ethics. This year’s essay prompt asks students, “What actions have you taken to help ‘tend the land’ (such as protecting soil, plants, animals, wildlife habitat, water sources, etc.), or what are your ideas for how you and other young people can help counteract the impacts of climate disruption on the different elements of your local environment?”

Entries for the 2022 contest are due to LeopoldWritingContest@usgo.net by 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 15. Award-winning essayists and their teachers will be notified by March 24. Visit leopoldwritingprogram.org/writing-contest.html for full contest details, instructions and entry forms.

First-place essays will be selected from three grade categories: 6–7, 8–9 and 10–12. The contest is open to students enrolled in public, private and home schools in New Mexico. Winning essayists will each win a $750 award. At the judges’ discretion, a $250 bonus may be awarded to the best overall essay.

The Aldo Leopold Writing Contest is an effective and inclusive way to engage the next generation of citizen leaders in an urgent conversation about how to address the changing realities brought about by climate disruption, biodiversity loss, growing freshwater demands and other global conservation issues.

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.