Union County celebrates young poets in annual Arbor Day Poetry Contest

UNION COUNTY, NJ — In honor of Arbor Day, the Union County Board of County Commissioners, in collaboration with the Union County Shade Tree Advisory Board, unveils the distinguished winners of the annual Union County Arbor Day Poetry Contest. Each year, the contest aims to inspire students in grades four through eight to embrace environmental stewardship and advocate for tree conservation.

“Recognizing our students’ dedication to the environment through poetry showcases their thoughtful connection to nature,” said Commissioner Chairperson Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “Congratulations to all students for their efforts and a special congratulations to the winners for their outstanding achievement. Your words encourage us all to protect our precious environment.”

A special awards ceremony, honoring the first-, second- and third-place winners across different grade levels, will be Wednesday, April 24, at 6 p.m., where the winners will be recognized by the Union County Board of County Commissioners.

Fourth Grade

First place, “Nature’s Heroes,” by Arjun Verma, Jefferson Elementary School, Westfield

Second place, “The Tree,” by Ty Rios, Jefferson Elementary School, Westfield

Third place, “The Beautiful Giants,” by Luke Vinokur, Mountain Park School, Berkeley Heights

Fifth Grade

First place, “The Tree Tale,” by Giovanna Flecca, Nettingham Middle School, Scotch Plains

Second place, “What Will I Do?” by Harper Feldman, Mountain Park School, Berkeley Heights

Third place, “Overlooked Heroes,” by Nora Lee, Mountain Park School, Berkeley Heights

Sixth Grade

First place, “Arbor Day,” by Sanai Johnson, Grover Cleveland School, Rahway

Second place, “Arbor Day,” by Noah Harvey, Grover Cleveland School, Rahway

Third place, “Trees,” by Sloane Potocek, Terrill Middle School, Scotch Plains

Seventh Grade

First place, “The Seasons of the Trees,” by Olivia Shamrakov, Terrill Middle School, Scotch Plains

Second place, “Towers of Nature,” by Aidan Katz, Terrill Middle School, Scotch Plains

Third place, “Dance like a Tree,” by Kelly Huang, Columbia Middle School, Berkeley Heights

Eighth Grade

First place, “Sturdy and Tall,” by Nyla Lopez, Mabel G. Holmes School No. 5 Elizabeth

Second place, “Tree Spirit,” by Mohamadi Saniwidi, Mabel G. Holmes School No. 5 Elizabeth

Third place, “The Red Maple Tree,” by Jesica Laskowski, Mabel G. Holmes School No. 5 Elizabeth

“The Arbor Day Poetry Contest encourages students to explore the importance of trees in our ecosystem through poetry,” said Commissioner James Baker, the Commissioner Board liaison to the Shade Tree Advisory Board. “By nurturing their creativity and environmental awareness, we equip them with the knowledge needed to become protectors of the environment.”

Arbor Day, observed every last Friday in April, has its origins in 1872 when it began in Nebraska, urging people to plant trees and raise environmental awareness. Gradually, it has grown into a nationwide event promoting the appreciation of trees and their ecological importance. This year, Arbor Day falls on April 26, highlighting the crucial role of environmental stewardship in safeguarding our natural resources.

For inquiries regarding the Arbor Day Poetry Contest, contact Andrea Staten at [email protected] or 908-789-3659. To learn more about Union County’s commitment to environmental initiatives, visit The Green Connection at ucnj.org/green-connection.