Coast Day Essay Contest encourages students to explore climate change

by Dave on August 28, 2009

Entries for the 2009 Coast Day Essay Contest, which is open to any fifth grader in Delaware, are being accepted until Monday, Sept. 21. The theme for this year’s contest is “Facing Climate Change in Delaware.” The contest is designed to spark students’ interest in marine environments while teaching them how to research a topic and use that information to write an essay in their own words.

Contest winners will receive prizes and recognition at this year’s Coast Day, which will be held Oct. 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, Del.

Winning essayists will receive bookstore gift cards valued at $100 for first prize, $75 for second prize, and $50 for third prize. The teachers of the winning students will receive gift cards for resource materials for use in their classrooms. The winners and their teachers also will be recognized at Coast Day and through news releases to the media.

“My experience with the contest has always been positive,” Brandi Townsend, fifth-grade teacher at Richard Shields Elementary School, in Lewes, Del., said of the contest. Two of her students, Sydney Ostroski and Max Elder, won top prizes last year for their essays on the theme of “Delaware’s Wetlands: How I Would Like to Help Keep Them Wonderful.”

“Being able to combine my love for writing instruction with my love for community outreach is a bonus every year,” Townsend said. “It’s a great way to connect the students to their community in a meaningful way that allows for both research and creativity. They always enjoy the project and I am continually fascinated at their interpretations of what’s going on around them. I look forward to doing so again this year.”

Coast Day, an annual educational festival and showcase for Delaware’s rich marine resources, is held every year on the first Sunday in October at UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus. Sponsored by UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, Coast Day attracts more than 10,000 visitors and has won state and national awards for its efforts to promote environmental education and stewardship. Coast Day is free.

The essays, which will be considered only if they are postmarked by Sept. 21 and are under 400 words in length, should be sent to:

Coast Day Essay Contest
University of Delaware
Marine Public Education Office
222 South Chapel Street, Room 103
Newark, DE 19716-3530

For a complete list of Coast Day Essay Contest rules and topic resources, and to learn more about Coast Day, visit For more information about the contest, contact Lisa Tossey at 302-831-8175 or

To learn more about CEOE, visit For more on Delaware Sea Grant, visit

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