Eighth annual Earth Day Essay Contest winners announced

Release Date: 4/25/2013

According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2012 was the hottest year in U.S. history. Given that information, this year's Earth Day Essay Contest asked students this question: "How would you respond to the issue of the planet's changing climate from a specific critical perspective?"

Dr. Brian Hardman, associate professor of English and essay contest organizer explained that while the issue of climate change has the potential to impact a broad range of things in our lives, for the essay contest, he asked students to choose one specific perspective and suggest a response based on that perspective. "For example," he said, "from a religious point of view, if we are to be good stewards of God’s creation, how should we respond to climate change? Or, what should be our ecological/environmental response?  How about an ethical response? What would be a suitable political response?"

The judges, Ms. Debbie Eldridge, office manager for the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts; Dr. Amy Oatis, assistant professor of English; and Dr. Kim Van Scoy, associate professor of science education and environmental studies read through seventeen essays submitted in this year's contest. They ultimately selected Nena Evans' essay, Cultivating Our Changing Climate, as the top essay and winner of the Workman Award ($400).

Other winning essays were:

Van Scoy said she was very impressed with the quality of this year's entries, and as she read through them, was pleased to see how students had personalized what was such a broad topic. "For example Elodie, who is going to be a high school science teacher spoke about education and Lauren, who is a program manager for Ozark’s Outdoors spoke about 'fostering environmental stewardship through outdoor recreation,'" she said. "All four of the winning essays were very well developed and the students had clearly done quite a bit of research."

The University extends a special "Thank You" to Dr. Wayne and Betty Workman for their generosity in once again providing funding for the Earth Day essay contest awards. The Workmans have sponsored the contest each year since it began in 2006. "Wayne is an Ozarks graduate, and a lifetime Trustee," said Dr. Rick Niece, University President. "Betty is also a former Trustee, and their support of this university and their dedication to the environment are appreciated by all of us at Ozarks."