Youth Essay Contest

TU Teen Essay Contest

In 2012, TU decided it was high time to celebrate and promote the voices of our youngest supporters. We ran the first-ever TU Teen Essay Contest that summer and have never looked back. Over the years, a host of talented teen writers have entered the contest, and we have published their creative work in the pages of TROUT magazine.

For this year’s contest, TU was fortunate to partner with Orvis, and we are thrilled to be elevating these youth voices and fostering future conservation leaders.

“The health of our planet depends on the next generation creating a special connection with nature and understanding the importance of restoring and recovering rivers, streams and other vital habitat,” said Charley Perkins, an Orvis product strategist who also serves on TU’s Headwaters Youth Program board. “By far the best way to rally the generation is to amplify the voices of their conservation-minded peers.”

The 2021 contest prompted teens with this question: Public lands and green spaces are those places where we can go to walk a greenway and listen to the birds, sit in the shade of a tree to escape the summer heat, camp, fish, hike, and explore. Why are these places an important part of your life?

The contest was divided into two groups of writers: middle schoolers and high schoolers. Congratulations to 11th grader Campbelle Redding and 9th grader Spencer Belson, who wrote this year’s winning essays. A big shout out also goes to Elizabeth Bruner and Wyatt Kauth, top finishers in the high school category, and Tyker Hubble and Joseph Troelsch, middle school students who also finished in the top three.