Leopold Writing Program Announces Winners of Leopold Writing Contest

March 22, 2018

Albuquerque, NM – On April 21st, four students from around the state will be honored for their winning entries in the 2018 Leopold Writing Contest at an awards ceremony at the Luna Mansion in Los Lunas. Each winner will be awarded $500 and an additional $250 will be awarded in books to the school library of the overall best essayist. These essays will be read at the event on April 21st and will be posted on the Leopold Writing Program website ( LeopoldWritingProgram.org ).

The Leopold Writing Program congratulates the 2018 Leopold Writing Contest winners:

Akshay Warrier (Overall winner), grade 11, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque

Peter Watson, grade 11, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos

Elijah Russell, grade 8, Jimmy Carter Middle School, Albuquerque

Seth Almanzar, grade 6, Rio Rancho Middle School, Rio Rancho

This year’s contest asked students to “Tell the story of a local land ethic leader”. Akshay Warrier wrote about his father as his local land ethic leader.  Peter Watson wrote about Craig Martin who organized the Los Alamos community to plant trees in the aftermath of the Cerro Grande and Las Conchas fires and helped found the Los Alamos Youth Conservation Corps.  Elijah Russell wrote about his grandfather, Benjamin Romero Rivera, a Socorro County farmer and leader of the Sevilleta Land Grant Association.  Seth Almanzar wrote about Josh Nelson, a guide at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

It was up to each student to interpret what a local land ethic leader means to them in the context of A Sand County Almanac (1949), a classic in Western literature that articulates Leopold’s Land Ethic: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community.  It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”  Leopold defined the “biotic community” as the soils, waters, plants, and animals—including humans—that collectively make up “the land”.

The Aldo Leopold Writing Contest—now entering its 10th year—is sponsored by the Leopold Writing Program in collaboration with the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico.  The Leopold Writing Program builds on Leopold’s legacy as a writer by inspiring the next generation of environmental leaders to participate in the evolution of land ethics through the written word.