“Other holidays repose upon the past;
Arbor Day proposes for the future.”
–J. Sterling Morton.
Now in its fourteenth year, the Arbor Day Poetry Contest was as creative as ever.
Seven senior citizens received awards at the Arbor Day Poetry Contest Gala held at the CVW Long Lake Public Library June 29. The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District hosted the 14th annual Arbor Day Poetry Contest for senior citizens this past spring.
The Arbor Day Poetry Contest poets from left: Tom Scahill, Bob Tice, Sue Kunzmann, Betsy Comeau, Deborah Hodgkins, Teresa Tice, and Nancy B. Williams.
Eleven poets submitted Clogyrnach poems based on the theme “Hope Grows Through Trees.” Special guest judge Kathy Stewart ranked blind copies.
“Another Arbor Day poetry jubilee with so many different interpretations of this year’s theme, “Hope Grows Through Trees,” said judge Kathy Stewart. “These poems, all composed by Hamilton Country seniors, seemed especially poignant this year. Our local poets’ thoughtful creativity always reminds me that time taken to reconnect with nature is time well spent. As I read the submissions I often think that the poems in hand will be difficult to top, but every year, these wonderful people offer me new ways to see trees – through their eyes.”
THE GALA: During the gala, District Manager Caitlin Stewart awarded all poets certificates of merit. She also awarded town-wide and overall first, second, and third place certificates to the seniors. Overall winners received wildflower packets. The seniors read their poems, and enjoyed refreshments courtesy of the Long Lake Public Library.
THE WINNERS: Betsy Comeau of Long Lake received first place, Nancy B. Williams of Lake Pleasant received second place, and Deborah Hodgkins of Wells received third place.
“Hamilton County SWD has provided a unique opportunity for senior citizens during the past 14 years,” said Long Lake poet Betsy Comeau. “Generally, we tend to think of poetry contests as being relegated to schools and children, but a contest just for Seniors? This gem of an event which occurs during mud season is just the perfect springtime tonic to awaken our weary souls with thoughts about trees, gardening, and everything green. Knowing Spring is just around the corner while we create a poem to celebrate the season of renewal gives seniors a chance to experiment with a variety of poetic forms. We are teased into thinking about the importance of trees in our world in new ways with words. This is a contest seniors anxiously await the arrival of every year. Like the trees we think and write about, the opportunity to grow our minds takes root in the Annual Arbor Day Poetry Contest.”
“Competing in the Hamilton County Arbor Day Poetry Contest is a way of showing the vibrancy of our lives, standing like a grove of healthy trees,” said Long Lake poet Bob Tice.
Arbor Day was celebrated April 29 and honored the importance of planting trees.
Seniors interested in participating in the 2023 Arbor Day Poetry Contest can contact the District for more information.
THE WINNING POEM PENNED BY BETSY COMEAU
Maple tree once whispered to me
Under her rustling canopy
Living roots are strong
Full of hope…
Full of song.