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Arbor Day Poetry Contest

In honor of Arbor Day, the District holds the Annual Arbor Day Poetry Contest for Senior Citizens. The theme changes yearly. arbor day poetry contest poster 2018

2018 Contest - the 10th annual! 

Eligibility Requirements

1. Hamilton County senior citizens may participate.
2. One entry per person.

Poem Criteria

1. Compose a modern elegy poem based on the theme “death of a tree.” An elegy is a melancholy poem that mourns or laments its subject’s death, but ends in consolation. Elements should include the expression of sorrow and grief, the singing of praise and admiration, and the offering of consolation and solace. The poem should move from grief to the acceptance of death. The modern elegy is written in any meter, rhyme scheme (or lack of), and length the poet chooses.

Example: Elegy for a Walnut Tree by W.S. Merwin
Old friend now there is no one alive
who remembers when you were young
it was high summer when I first saw you
in the blaze of day most of my life ago
with the dry grass whispering in your shade
and already you had lived through wars
and echoes of wars around your silence
through days of parting and seasons of absence
with the house emptying as the years went their way
until it was home to bats and swallows
and still when spring climbed toward summer
you opened once more the curled sleeping fingers
of newborn leaves as though nothing had happened
you and the seasons spoke the same language
and all these years I have looked through your limbs
to the river below and the roofs and the night
and you were the way I saw the world

2. The poem must be original and hand written or typed.
3. On the back of your entry, include:
     a. Name
     b. Mailing address
     c. Phone number and / or email address
     d. Senior citizen center, meal site, or nutrition site, if applicable

Submission Requirements

     1. Entry deadline: Thursday April 27, 2018.
     2. Deliver or mail your entry to:
          Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District
          103 County View Drive, PO BOX 166 Lake Pleasant NY 12108
     3. If the office is closed when you arrive, leave your poem in the lower entryway.


Poems will be judged on originality and relevance to theme.


     1. Certificates will be awarded to all participants.
     2. The county-wide first place winner will receive a special prize.


How to Enter

The District’s accomplishments would not be possible without the support of the State of New York, Hamilton County, and FLLOWPA.