School Environment Award Essay Contest Winners 2017
As part of the SEA program, there is a short story/essay contest held each year. The students are given an environmentally related theme which their stories or essays should cover. At least one winner is chosen from each grade level at each school that submits entries. The theme this year was “Preserving the Indian River Lagoon”.
The Indian River Lagoon
“Come on Judy!”
“Hold your horses, Dolly, I’m coming!”
“Wow! This is amazing!”
“It is, Dolly, it is.”
“Hay Miss Ruby, why do all the manatees have cuts on their backs?”
“Well Dolly, the cuts are from boats that have a motor with a propeller that hits them in the water.”
“But how come the boats don’t see them?”
“Well, the manatees go slow and sometimes the driver doesn’t have time to stop the motor.”
“Why don’t we make a camera video on this spot so the boat drivers can see the manatees!”
“Dolly, it’s not that easy. But if we try we could be a success!”
“Ok class, let’s give it a try.”
“Well what are we waiting for?”
“Okay, it’s time to test the camera. Where is the boat?”
“Perfect! Now everyone have their lifejackets on?”
At that moment the camera was videoing a special scene. A boat was moving toward the area and going fast. Vroom!
“Stop! Manatees!” yelled Dolly.
The camera idea really works!
“I have a story to tell mom!” exclaimed Dolly.
Emily, Fairglen Elementary, 4th Grade
Indian River Lagoon
This past fall, I visited the central area of the Indian River Lagoon on a field trip with my 4th grade class. While I was there we were able to get in the water and investigate the wildlife. I think that we should keep the river water clean and we need to keep our environment clean too. I believe that we can keep it clean by picking up trash before it makes it to the waterways. Everyone should remember to keep our world safe and Earth clean. I can’t forget about the animals and they need to be safe in their communities, also.
Cheyenne, Fairglen Elementary, 4th grade
Once a pound a time there was a manatee named Jack who had a friend that happened to be an alligator. His friend the alligator was named Aiden and he was no ordinary alligator because he was a vegetarian. Aiden new from a very young age that he enjoyed no, wait loved eaten vegetables, flowers and anything that was green. Jack and his good friend the alligator did everything together and they were inseparable. Jack and Aiden lived in a great place in Florida and they enjoyed being together in a place where no one bothered them for being friends. Their friendship had a rough start because Aiden and Jack where teased by the other animals due to their friendship. Being friends at their old lagoon meant the ducks would quack by and say alligators and manatees cannot be friends. The older alligators did not agree with heir friendship but Jack thought that they were really upset over Aiden being a vegetarian. The manatees would block Jack from the juicy and delicious plants and when Aiden arrived to join the meal they pretended he was a turtle. Jack and Aiden decided that bullying was not a nice thing to do and they needed to a find a new place to live. Aiden and Jack wanted a new lagoon full of fresh and delicious plants and maybe new friends and neighbors. Jack and Aiden searched and searched tirelessly for a new place to live. Some lagoons where too hot, and others were overcrowded but just when they thought they were going to give up, something happened. Jack came across a lagoon called the Indian River Lagoon and it was amazing. The plants were as green as an emerald, and the animals where very friendly too and even invited Aiden and Jack to game nights. Aiden and Jack where never teased again, and they were happy to have a safe place to live. Like their friendship, the Indian River Lagoon also had a rough start because humans had to step in and remove all of the garbage. The humans worked really hard to make the Indian River Lagoon a safe place to live for all animals.
Arlyne, Quest, 3rd grade
Saving the Indian River Lagoon
Hello my name is Diggy and I am a fiddler crab. I want to tell you a story about my lagoon, and how my friend and I saved it. When I was a young little crabling, I loved playing in the beaches of the Indian River Lagoon. You should have seen the beach, it was glorious. One day me and my friend Sal, the Seagull, saw a fisherman, it was the first time we ever saw a fisherman on our beach. He took my old pal Pescado the fish with him! I knew Pescado shouldn’t have eaten that hot dog on a hook. When the fisherman left, he left behind some of his trash and fishing wire. The next day my neighbor Cangrejo was nowhere to be found. I knew he had moved, because of the garbage in the lagoon. The fisherman must have told all his friends about my glorious beach! Each day more fisherman showed up. The Lagoon was getting more and more dirty as the people left behind their trash. Trash was floating at the top of the river, and it was getting harder to see the surface. In no time my beach became a very popular fishing spot, which led to more trash being left behind. One time there was a plastic bottle at the bottom of the river. My other buddy Loco wanted to be funny, and crawled into it then floated away. Four weeks after the first fisherman came, it was only me and Sal who hadn’t moved away. The Lagoon kept getting worse, but I still had hope. After a few moths Sal and I knew the trash wasn’t going to disappear on its own, so we made a plan. Sal set off to bring back as many fish as he could. The next day they all played dead. All three hundred and one of them. The fisherman were so surprised. They called a marine rescue team, and they got to work picking up all the trash, and untangling the fishing wire stuck in the rocks. I was so happy to see this. When I went to bed, there was loud noises all around. The sound of talking fish, and crabs. I walked out, and to my surprise, all two hundred and thirty five crabs and fish were here! My beach was once again the most glorious of them all. Together, we made the greatest sand castle in all the Lagoon, and Sal and I ruled it. Everyone lived in the castle, even Loco, who Sal found still floating in the river. So next time you’re enjoying the beautiful lagoons remember that you’re sea friends live here and we want to keep our home clean. The end.
Zara, Audubon, 6th grade
Life is hard being a turtle. Not knowing if you would be attacked or left behind. But the worst thing is not knowing if you’re going to make it when people attack. This is my story from the beginning. My name is Pop. I’m a turtle. I live at the Indian River Lagoon. It’s awesome there except one thing at three o’ clock. People come for us turtles with things that look like jellyfish but tied together they call them nets. When the two legged people (that is what we call the humans) come they only get one of the turtles. My best friend Pepey and my mom Tuna are good at surviving so I think will be fine. I love my life here at the lagoon. “Mom, can me and Pepey go to the park today?” I told her. She told me no because it was almost three o’ clock. But I really wanted to go so I told Pepey that she said yes. We stayed there until three thirty not knowing what time we stayed. Until everything got silent then I heard mother scream. She was there in front of me saying the nets! I did not hear her then suddenly a net came. She pushed me out of the way. Then I saw her get taken by the nets. “Pop are you ok?” Pepey asked me, no it is my fault if I wouldn’t have disobeyed her while I was talking this weird turtle stopped our conversation and told me about a way to get my mom back. He told us about a beaver that knows how to find my mom. As soon as he told us about that we left to go there. We followed the directions perfectly then came upon their weird house this is apparently a dam. We looked for a door but we couldn’t find anything. “What is that?” Pepey said. She lifted it up then something sprung up. “Hello, there!” it said. “I’ve heard you’ve been looking for me.” “Are you, Robbie?” I asked. “Yes indeed, I am,” he told me. We told him all about our problems. He told how to save my mom, and even said there is a place where turtles live that is very safe. It was a difficult task saving my mom; we had to go through tubes, pipes and tanks. But it was all worth it to see her smile. We met some people there like a crab that’s name was Wako. We even saved some more turtles. The place that Robbie mentioned is awesome. There are no people there and it is a place only for turtles. It’s also the place I proposed to Pepey. Hey, don’t spoil it! She said “yes”, and let’s just say this is a fairy book life.
Kiara, Audubon Elementary, 6th grade
Preserving the Indian River Lagoon
The Indian River Lagoon has become very polluted the last few decades. In my lifetime I have seen major fish kills. Me and my dad went down to the Banana River a couple months ago and there were thousands of dead fish floating. The pollution is created by humans through storm water runoff, septic tanks leaking, and runoff from farms. In the early 1900s the lagoon was packed with oyster beds. Overfishing and pollution has caused the oysters to disappear. There has been work done to replace the oyster beds and they are starting to come back. Oysters are very good for the environment. Each oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. They kill viruses, bacteria, and algae. The recent fish kills have been caused by brown tide. Unreasonably hot temperatures have helped the algae spread. Brow tides are caused by the pelagophyte Aureoumbra lagunensis. The algae takes the oxygen out of the water, which causes fish to die. This year’s fish kill is one of the largest on record. Scientists have found more than 15 kinds of fish that have been killed. The state Government is not doing much to help. Fertilizers that people use to make their grass green is one of the major causes. The farmers also use fertilizers and they are now allowed to self-inspect. This means there is nobody checking to make sure they are doing it right and following the rules not to spread pollution. Hopefully people will realize one day that having fish is more important than your grass being green. In 2014 the Brevard County Commission passed a rule banning the use of fertilizers during the rainy season from June 1st through September 30th, but you can still go to the store and buy it. I’ve read that one kind of fish becoming extinct can cause many others to do the same. There are groups that are working to help the lagoon get clean again and I really hope they will succeed. I think there needs to be more done by the government to make sure people follow the rules. Before the fish kill, I never even though about the pollution in the water. I would like to start a group with my friends and family to help clean up the lagoon. We could have trash pickups and pass out flyer letting people know that their fertilizers are killing the fish. I think if more people were told, they might stop doing it. Saving out Lagoon should be something you hear every day. I don’t think people know how serious this could be. My Aunt Kathu told me when she first moved her in the 60s the water was blue and you could see through it. Now it looks brown. I hope that one day I’ll be able to help the lagoon become clean again and full of fish.
Jason, Audubon Elementary, 4th grade