Colorado Rocky Mountain School students honored by Wilderness Workshop

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Colorado Rocky Mountain School students honored by Wilderness Workshop

"What Wilderness Means to Me" writing contest (Installment #1)
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Colorado Rocky Mountain School students honored by Wilderness Workshop
Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 4:49pm


Earlier this December, the Wilderness Workshop sought out the next generation of young environmental leaders by hosting a writing contest for 7th – 12th graders from Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley. The Wilderness Workshop asking all participating students to submit essays, stories or poems on why they believe wilderness is important. The 40 recipients were honored at the gala premiere of Forever Wild, the PBS documentary narrated by Robert Redford, at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, CO. In addition, the students met Congressman  Salazar and filmmakers Chelsea Congdon and James Brundige and were recognized  for their writing submissions. Five Colorado Rocky Mountain School students were chosen and honored. Following please find one of their submissions. For more information, contact Lisa Raleigh (Colorado Rocky Mountain School, Director of Communications)

What Wilderness Means to Me (Installment #1)

I stand on the frozen ground as frost nips at my nose. The cool mountain breeze touches my face like a mother comforting her child, and relieves my tension. In the distance, a hungry elk rummages under the blanket of fresh fallen snow and a pika stretches out on a rock to bask in the winter sun before it disappears behind the horizon and night takes over the forest. The forest is buzzing with life, yet it is peaceful and harmonious. Apart from my footprints, there is no trace of human life in this vast wilderness area. The busy highway from human civilization has been replaced by a humble trail winding through the trees, the smoke of factories has transformed into a gentle fog, and the ring of cell phones has been substituted by the chirping of birds. This wilderness area is a sanctuary for the human soul, as well as a safeguard for the wildlife that lives here.

Wilderness is important because it is an area of land that is untouched by human development. It is an area where the natural beauty has not been robbed by logging or mining, the pristine air has not been fogged by the smog from automobiles, and nature’s sweet whispers have not been obscured by the humming of technology. The wilderness is a place where animals can thrive in their natural habitat. In wilderness areas, people can enjoy and benefit from nature without harming it.

From the Maroon-Bells in the Roaring Fork Valley, to the Florida Everglades, wilderness is essential to the well being of humans and animals alike. As the human population grows, natural areas are destroyed to provide resources and space for us. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the materials with which we build our shelters, are all tied in to nature. With each tree that is cut down, each wetland that is drained, each river that is dammed, and each grassland that is farmed, wildlife looses its habitat and humans loose the beauty and purity of nature that is absent in modern society. Wilderness is so important because it is land that cannot fall victim to axes, flames, and bulldozers that threaten much of our natural earth.

To me, wilderness is a gesture of hope. The fact that people are dedicated to preserving nature, by establishing wilderness areas, proves that they care about a cause deeper than their own satisfaction. It shows that people care about the beauty, wisdom, and simplicity of the natural world for future generations. Each wilderness area will exist forever to provide an escape from the calamity of modern life - for people as well as wildlife. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get any better, its not,” Dr. Seuss wrote in his book The Lorax. The establishing of wilderness areas proves that people care about the future, and as Dr. Seuss pointed out, caring is the only way that a positive change will occur.

Submitted by JJ Worley, junior, Colorado Rocky Mountain School 


Keywords: Wilderness Workshop | colorado rocky mountain school