Hawley Awards Local Student Winner Of Environmental Education Essay Contest

Albion High Student Wins Free Week at State Summer Camp for Essay

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-I-C – Batavia) awarded Albion High School student Rebecca Weller as the winner of his 2008 Environmental Education Essay Contest. As a prize for her essay, Weller will receive a free week at one of the state’s Summer Environmental Education Camps, compliments of the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

“Rebecca is a remarkable student and a gifted writer. Her essay on the importance of nature was a very personal reflection of her love for the outdoors and her commitment to conservation. I am very proud of Rebecca and pleased to have chosen her as this year’s contest winner,” stated the Assemblyman.

In her poignant one-page essay, Weller discussed how she enjoys the outdoors with her family, yet, she is concerned about the future of our natural spaces. She writes, “…as I see the land disappearing, the woods being chopped down, I wonder if my children will ever experience the same love and respect for nature that I have.” In order to protect the environment for future generations, Weller has encouraged her family and friends to live “greener” by using Energy STAR appliances, CFL light bulbs, and using earth-friendly household cleaners.

Weller’s commitment to environmental stewardship has extended beyond her own household. With a friend, she designed t-shirts promoting green tips and facts on global warming, Earth Day, and going green. She has participated in litter clean-up days in her neighborhood and competed in the Disney Great Green Challenge where she won with the most votes for the “At Home” challenge. Weller is using the Challenge’s $1,000 prize to fund her t-shirt campaign and donating at least half to the World Wildlife Fund.

Though this year’s contest has ended, Assemblyman Hawley looks forward to next year’s essay contest and encourages students to take time during their summer vacation to reflect on why the environment is so important to them. Next spring, Hawley will be announcing the 2009 Summer Camp Essay Contest and hopes students will apply for their chance to attend a weeklong camp next summer at one of the following four DEC summer camps:

  • Camp Colby (near the Village of Saranac Lake in Franklin County)
  • Camp DeBruce (in the southern Catskills near the Village of Livingston Manor in Sullivan County)
  • Camp Rushford (in the Genesee River Valley in Allegany County)
  • Camp Pack Forest (north of Warrensburg in the southern Adirondacks)

More information can be obtained at the DEC website at www.dec.state.ny.us (keyword: summer camps) or by contacting Assemblyman Hawley’s district office at (585) 589-5780 or via e-mail at hawleys@assembly.state.ny.us.