2011 Wild Words & Art contest winners
College/Adult — 1st: Norbert Gabby, West Burlington; 2nd Jan Blankenburg, Donnellson; 3rd: Becky Ireland, Montrose.
High school — 1st: Curtis Messer, Mediapolis; 2nd: Eric Tyner, Mediapolis; 3rd: John Wischmeier, Mediapolis.
Middle school — 1st: Bobby Kemp, Burlington; 2nd: Jacob Roy, Burlington; 3rd: Emma Carper, Burlington.
College/Adult — 1st: Jan Blankenburg, Donnellson. No additional places awarded.
High school — No prizes awarded.
Middle school — No prizes awarded.
College/Adult — 1st: Dan Roberts, Mount Pleasant; 2nd: Kelly Harbin, Lockridge. No additional places awarded.
High school — 1st: Hannah E.R. Allen, Burlington. No additional places awarded.
Middle school — 1st: Kaite Whitehall, Burlington; 2nd: Kristyn Vedder, Burlington; 3rd (tie): Kassidy Lawler and Ana Johnson, Burlington; honorable mentions: Kaleb Branton and Brittany Gilpin, Burlington.
Dan Roberts, 1st place, College/Adult; Mount Pleasant
Kelly Harbison, 2nd place, College/Adult; Lockridge
Win-Win Situation; 1st place, by Jan Blankenship, Donnellson
A few years ago during a stressful time in my life, I needed an outlet for my frustrations, and I needed it badly. That outlet appeared in the guise of a blank journal and nearby Shimek forest.
I found myself wandering happily, journal in hand, into a new and healing world. I tried my hand at sketching what I was seeing in the natural world around me, and recording notes in the margins. I would date each entry and note the weather and maybe add a few personal thoughts, then head home refreshed.
As I continued my walks and journaling, I discovered a natural place brimming with life and color. I began to observe nature on a personal level, and my curiosity about what I was recording became a wonderful interactive, and inexpensive pastime.
However, my sketching left a lot to be desired. I soon began using my digital camera. By doing so, I captured the colors and details lacking in my rough sketches. On rainy days I used my computer to print my pictures, reminders of what I’d seen, and had the pleasure of enjoying my walk all over again. Technology also allowed me to research interesting facts about the habitats and animals I was seeing in an efficient way. This knowledge often prompted me to find other resources and learn more.
I’m a Libra. My zodiac sign is the lady balancing the scales of justice. Seeing both sides of a problem comes naturally to me, but because I always want to be fair to both sides, I often have difficulty making decisions. I understand the necessity of keeping up with the rest of the world. It’s called progress. Technology has invaded my life and is here to stay. Its impact has changed the landscape and America’s way of doing business from Main street to Wall street. Farmers, conservationists, bankers, schools, merchants, and entire communities have been touched each in different ways.
Due to its impact we all save time, get immediate feedback, and experience the accuracy necessary to solve problems in all walks of life. At times this fact has made me lazy, and sometimes it has sparked an interest in learning something new in a challenging way. I’ll continue to live happily in both worlds.
On my nature walks I slow down, pay attention, and enjoy the limited time I have to be outdoors. The time I spend in front of my computer printing the beautiful pictures for my journal helps me remember each day even longer. As I add these memories to my journal, I am content knowing that my own way of balancing these two worlds works for me. It’s a win-win situation. Either way I always learn something new and wonderful.
No other winners
High school essay
Middle school essay
Nature's song; 1st place, by Norbert Gabby, West Burlington
It is enough for me to walk
along some deep wooded trail
green growth sprouts around me
wild flowers on hill and valley
Oh tired and burdened soul
I beg you to walk a while
along a clear running stream
for its music brings a smile
In a secluded place I rest
listen long to nature’s song
the forest now awakening
but I must be moving on
My stride has steady purpose
great strength comes to me
on sunny days in the wood
rejuvenated, mind and body
Web Master; 2nd place, by Jan Blankenburg, Donnellson
The digital spider forgot how to weave
His webside grew stringy and slack
He couldn’t dial up — he couldn’t arrow down
He couldn’t scroll forward or back
He needed to Google to find his web pattern
To get his life back on track
When he hit search — a virus appeared
His site came under attack
He sat all alone at the end of his silk
Unable to reach his best friend
A field support team saved the day
His website was soon on the mend
The landscape had changed — the systems all new
His navigating needed some tweaking
His friends ‘tried and true’ were his GPS
Great software in a manner of speaking
He recalled the days when weaving intricate webs
Was done simply to catch his next meal
Now being a Web Master in the natural world
Was becoming a really big deal
If you’re a Web Master in this spinning world
Remember the spider’s plight
We’re all connected in some small way
Keep threads of your community piled tight
The Hour Without Power; 3rd place, by Becky Ireland, Montrose
At three-thirty predawn dark I stare at my computer’s screen.
A soft glow wraps around the words that search down as I read.
Beep, blink, bang, powering off. Bling, beep, pop, powering on.
Repeat, repeat, it’s gone. I’m sitting in the dark.
I’d better get a candle. I need to light a light.
That doesn’t do much. It isn’t very bright.
I find a flashlight in a drawer. It lights the living room.
An LED light throws confetti through the dining room.
I wonder if it’s just our house, the neighborhood, or the town.
Everything is very still. Is everyone powering down?
I walk outside and feel a chill. I see the darkened homes.
A dark wool wrap has trapped our village all around.
I look up and am astounded that everywhere
Are blinking twinkling lights so bright it hurts my eyes to stare.
In bold relief against an inky canvass skyway
Glow Venus and Orion on their glorious cosmic highway.
Hannah E.R. Allen, 1st place, high school; Burlington
High school poetry
"Plugging Into the Landscape; 1st place, by Curtis Messer, Mediapolis
Now they are unplugged into our landscape.
They are old refrigerators and freezers,
old washers and dryers,
old deep fat fryers,
old ovens and stoves
old DVD and VHS players
old record and cassette players
old toasters and roasters
All plug up our ditches and trenches
Saved by my Cell Phone; 2nd place, by Eric Tyner, Mediapolis
I’m lost in the woods!
What can I do?
Except look to you
My cell phone
I find my way out
No need to pout
Saved by my cell phone
Now to my home
Where am I?
Look to my cell phone
I’m 3 blocks away
Using technology in nature
That is the way.
The Dividing Forest; 3rd place, by John Wischmeier, Mediapolis
The power lines cut through the innocent trees
Leaving nothing for the bees
A perfectly straight open area is what I see
For it looks like a bulldozer put down its blade taking everything including the leaves
What it needs to be
It’s something that’s already gone
For now the timber is not free
It tears something out of me
It makes me want to plea
For now the animals will have to leave
It is something that is not meant to be
The power lines have cut through the innocent trees
Middle school poetry
The Ashes; 1st place, by Bobby Kemp, Burlington
I remember this place,
Once green with trees,
Where you could bask in the sun
And enjoy the breeze
A place where the birds sang.
All night and all day
A place I used to come
To laugh and run and play,
But man’s hand
Has fallen fast and hard
And now all that remains of the land
Are ashes — cold, black, charred.
The Pheasants I Hunt; 2nd place, by Jacob Roy, Burlington
The pheasants I hunt travel in groups,
It is safer that way.
The pheasants I hunt stay perfectly still,
It is safer that way
The pheasants I hunt stay in the taller grass,
It is safer that way
The pheasants I hunt are beautifully camouflaged,
It is safer that way.
The pheasants I hunt explode into flight,
It is safer that way.
The pheasants I hunt head for the woods,
It is safer that way.
But some of the pheasants I hunt are too slow.
What life used to be.; 3rd place, by Emma Carper, Burlington
If we could change
Just one thing,
What would it be?
A new face,
A safer place,
A new, protected world?
We’ve lost what the
Native Americans used to see-
The stars in the sky at night.
Do you know
Where the wildflowers grow,
When all you see are streets?
Because once upon a time,
In this world of mine,
All you could see were faces lit by firelight.
Once there was a world,
Where bald eagles flew,
Everything was new.
Together we lived
No matter if rain or shine.
Purple flowers grew,
We picked them new,
We saw the beauties outside.
Together we lived,
With what nature provides,
Not with what we made.
Kaite Whitehall, 1st place, middle school; Burlington
Kristyn Vedder, 2nd place, middle school; Burlington
Kassidy Lawler, 3rd place, middle school; Burlington
Ana Johnson, 3rd place, middle school; Burlington
Kaleb Branton, honorable mention, middle school; Burlington
Brittany Gilpin, honorable mention, middle school; Burlington