Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) would like to congratulate Hamlin (Monroe County) resident Christine Zulkosky as the winner of this year’s Summer Camp Essay Contest. As a prize, Ms. Zulkosky will be able to attend one of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Summer Environmental Education Camps, compliments of the DEC.
“Christine’s essay detailed the simple, everyday measures she takes to help protect the environment. These simple changes, such as recycling and conserving energy, are measures we all can take to help ensure nature is protected for future generations. I am proud to announce that Christine is this year’s winner and hope that she will learn new and innovative ideas on environmental stewardship at camp this summer,” said Hawley, whose announcement coincides with the State Assembly marking Earth Day this week in Albany.
Each year, the DEC offers each member of the State Legislature to choose one student from their districts, between the ages of 12 and 17, to attend one of their four summer camps. To help select a student from the 139th Assembly District, Hawley has held an annual essay contest on the topic “Why the Environment is Important to You.” Previous winners included Albion’s Rebecca Weller (Orleans County) and Batavia’s Nicholas Corcoran (Genesee County).
This year, his office received a record number of essays from students across the four counties Hawley represents. He stated, “The growing interest from students about protecting our planet makes me very proud that students from all over Western New York are getting involved and learning that they can truly affect positive change. As Christine said in her essay, ‘if everyone changed their lifestyle, just slightly, the impact would be colossal.’”
The Assemblyman continued, “Christine’s essay stood out from the pack of excellent essays this year because during these tough economic times, it is important to remember there are small things we each can do in our daily lives that not only save money, but also save the environment. Even though Christine’s essay was chosen, every essay we received was creative, well-written and inspirational. All students who participated should be very proud and continue their efforts in environmental stewardship.”
A copy of Ms. Zulkosky’s essay is below.
Environmental Camp Essay
Submitted by Christine Zulkosky
From the water we drink, to the air we breathe, the environment and how we maintain it has a massive impact on our daily lives. The environment affects not only the people on this planet, but every living organism on it as well. We may not be able to reduce global warming, end pollution, and save endangered species single-handedly, but if everyone changed their lifestyle just slightly the impact would be colossal. I am very passionate about the environment and I would adore attending the camp this summer.
I make various efforts everyday to reduce my negative impact on the environment as well as the impact of those around me. The high school I attend does not have recycling bins of any kind in accessible places for students to recycle their papers or plastic bottles. In an effort to reduce the amount of paper thrown away each day, I don’t throw away any of my papers at the school. I instead bring my papers and the papers of those around me home to be recycled. I have a similar system with the plastic bottles. Plastic bottles are sold everywhere in the school, but there is nowhere to recycle them. Therefore, I take all of my bottles, in addition to the bottles from my peers’ home to be recycled everyday. I try to make sure no one at my lunch table has to throw away their plastic bottles; I instead will take if for them to be recycled. I know this impact I’m making is small, but I feel that I could potentially set an example for others and they would in turn make a difference as well.
My interest is conserving the environment began in ninth grade when I took biology in school. I was horrified at the amount that could be done so easily by normal people to reduce their negative impact, and none of it being executed. I can understand how people may feel the environment is not affecting them at this very moment, but it’s always affecting the other organisms on the planet. As a vegetarian and an animal lover, it pains me to see so many animals losing their habitats and struggling for their lives due to human lethargy concerning the environment.
I would like to attend an environmental camp to learn how I could potentially further diminish the negative impact myself and my peers have on the environment. I am considering the pursuit of a career in conservation, and attending a camp such as this could possibly give me more insight into my future. I love the feeling of satisfaction I attain when I make even small steps towards helping the environment and I would love to know how to do more to help. I care about the environment and I would love to make a difference with the knowledge I gather at this summer camp.