Six New York City students — three from Brooklyn — were finalists in the second annual Green Teens Essay Contest. It was a competition which invites young writers ages 12 to 18 to submit a 300-word personal essay about how they will help Mayor Bloomberg implement MillionTreesNYC, which is a PlaNYC initiative to plant and care for one million trees by 2017.
The grand prize winner of the contest (who was from Manhattan) received $1,000, two runners up received $500 each, and three honorable mentions received $100 each.
“Growing young minds through environmental awareness is the key to success in greening New York City,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “These green teens have demonstrated a savvy understanding of the immense health and environmental benefits of trees, and they have generated a number of creative ideas to engage even more New Yorkers in MillionTreesNYC. We look forward to working with the essay finalists to further develop their ideas for implementation and help create a greener, greater New York City.”
Runner up Nedine Dobson, 17, from Clara Barton High School in Crown Heights titled her essay, “A Melting Pot of Beautiful People With Beautiful Trees,” and in it wrote, “Each school district should be responsible for involving each school in the district to embark on a go green project. The project will require groups of students to be responsible for the design of areas in their school district to plant trees — this initiative promises to make New York, with its melting pot of beautiful people, a garden of beautiful trees.”
Eric Murray Datcher, 16, from the Bushwick High School for Social Justice, earned an honorable mention with his essay, writing, “The key to the Mayor’s plan is involving the youth of New York City. There are young people throughout the city who are simply waiting for an opportunity to make a major change. The Million Trees project could be that change to unite the youth in a positive project. I believe I can use my strong voice to gather more students, young people, and community members to beautify more places throughout New York City.”
Jamel Irby-Shabazz, 12, of Park Place Middle School in Park Slope, also earned an honorable mention with his essay, in which he wrote, “Every month we will get teens to sign up as a special citizenship program with the NYC Parks Department to help plant trees. Teens will then make a difference in their community and experience something positive in their community. The teens will also be able to place their family name on the trees. I also believe that a million trees will equal a million healthy breaths. A million healthy breaths can help a brain learn and be more conscious about the environment in which we live.”
The essay contest was sponsored by Flowerworks Florist & Landscape Contractor, Carver Federal Savings Bank, Our Time Press, and Gxart Studio. Essay finalists were honored on November 19th at Restoration Plaza on Fulton Street, in an event celebrating the newly-formed Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District (BID).
For more information about MillionTreesNYC, visit www.milliontreesnyc.org.
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