The nonprofit organization, which receives truckloads of mail from kids concerned about endangered species, devised the contest as an opportunity for school children to let government leaders know about the importance of the Endangered Species Act.
Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders, says, "There is growing fear that without the Act, hundreds of different species throughout the United States will be wiped out. In fact, scientists predict that twenty percent of all species will be extinct within thirty years, unless we make every day an Earth Day for these species. Saving these species means saving a healthy environment for today's children and future generations."
Students in grades one through twelve can be a part of the effort to protect the diversity of life by entering the essay contest. Defenders of Wildlife leads efforts to protect endangered species and other wildlife ranging from wolves, bald eagles, manatees, snowy owls, bears, jaguars, and whales to lesser known amphibians, reptiles, and plants. The organization sees the contest essays as a way to help people understand that each species is not only precious in itself, but can support other species-including humans-in the circle of life.
To enter the contest, each young person is asked to select an endangered species in his or her state and write about why it is important to protect it. The best essays in each age group will be published to support efforts to get Congress to strengthen and renew the Endangered Species Act. State-by-state contest winners will receive invitations to Defenders of Wildlife events or teleconferences, T-shirts, and kits of fun wildlife merchandise. The grand prize is a trip to Washington, D.C. including an opportunity to see wildlife in the National Capitol region.
Essays should be postmarked or e-mailed by July 1, 1997, and sent to:
ESA Essay Contest
Defenders of Wildlife
1101 14th Street, NW, Suite 1400
Washington, D.C. 20005
Include name, grade, home address and phone.
Contact(s):Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270