Aldo Leopold Writing Contest
Each year, the Aldo Leopold Writing Contest invites New Mexico students in Grades 6-12 to submit essays in response to a carefully-crafted and thought-provoking prompt inspired by the writings of Leopold. Encouraged by their teachers, students delve into his philosophies of land stewardship, especially as set forth in A Sand County Almanac, and explore the relevance of Leopold's classic and timeless observations to issues that they experience personally, locally, and globally.
The Writing Contest is divided into three levels:
Grades 6-7, Grades 8-9, and Grades 10-12.
A panel of volunteer judges evaluates each essay in these grade categories for responsiveness to the prompt, eloquence of expression, writing skill and language usage, and connection to Leopold's "land ethic." Judges choose First Place essayists in each of the three categories, as well as Honorable Mentions as merited. Each student winner receives a cash award and certificate. As determined by the judges, an additional award may be presented for Overall Best Essay.
Since its beginning in 2009, over 2,000 students from schools in rural and urban communities around New Mexico have taken part in the annual Aldo Leopold Writing Contest.
For 6th – 12th grade students in New Mexico, 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 demand for fresh water, and other pressing global conservation issues.