OK: Calling all young outdoor writers to compete for outdoor getaways

Oklahoma youth are getting a chance this year to share their
outdoor heritage to competing for an all-expense-paid outdoor
getaway.

According to Colin Berg, education supervisor for the Wildlife
Department, the essay contest is an ideal way for youth to show
their love for the outdoors and, in the process, possibly win a
vacation in the great outdoors.

“The tradition of hunting runs deep in Oklahoma,” said Berg. “Each
year, when I review the youth essay submissions, I’m reminded about
how important it is to pass along our heritage of hunting.”

To participate, students must be 11-17 years of age and currently
enrolled in any Oklahoma school or home school. Students also must
use the theme of “Hunting: Sharing the Heritage” or “Archery: What
I like about Archery in the Schools and Bowhunting” or the concept
of the theme to develop a descriptive essay or short story. Winners
of the previous year’s contest are not eligible. Applicants must
have successfully completed an Oklahoma Hunter Education course by
the entry deadline, which is Nov. 18, 2011. There are two age
categories – 11-14 and 15-17.

Winners in the 15-17 age category (one boy and one girl) will
receive a guided antelope hunt in New Mexico, and winners in the
11-14 age category are competing for a scholarship within the
Apprentice Hunter Program at the YO Ranch in Mountain Home, Texas.
Safari Club International’s Apprentice Hunter Program is a unique,
hands-on course designed for girls and boys aged 11-14. The program
covers topics such as the history of hunting, the ethical basis of
modern sport hunting, wildlife management, field identification,
tracking and interpreting sign, game cooking and the SCI Sportsmen
Against Hunger Program. There are three sessions – each one week
long – during the summer of 2012.

“If you don’t enter, you can’t win,” Berg said.

The four statewide winners and their legal guardians will be
invited to Oklahoma City to attend an awards ceremony in March. In
addition, the top 25 essay entrants will receive a one-year youth
membership to Safari Club International. The Oklahoma State Chapter
will reimburse trip travel expenses to New Mexico and Texas up to
$500 per essay contest winner. The winning student essays will be
published in the OSCSCI newsletter, “Safari Trails.” Publication
qualifies the winning entries for the Outdoor Writers Association
of America Youth Writing Contest. Several past national winners
have come from Oklahoma. Essays may also be printed in Outdoor
Oklahoma magazine.

“We have had past winners from all across the state,” Berg said.
“Public school, private school and home school students can all
enter.”

Two educators also will be awarded all-expenses-paid scholarships
for an eight-day conservation education school at Safari Club
International’s American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) at
Granite Ranch near Jackson, Wyoming.

The AWLS program is conducted during the summer and presents an
outdoor program for educators that concentrates on natural resource
management. Participants learn about stream ecology, map and
compass, language arts and creative writing in an outdoor setting,
fly tying, shooting sports, wildlife management, the Yellowstone
ecosystem, camping, white-water rafting, educational resources and
how to implement outdoor education ideas.

Both the essay contest rules and teacher scholarship applications
are available from the Department’s Web site at
http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/writingcomp.htm .

Essays and applications must be postmarked no later than Nov. 18,
2011, or delivered by Nov. 18 in person to the Department of
Wildlife’s Jenks Office at 201 Aquarium Drive, Jenks. Address
entries to: Essay Contest, Attn: Education Section Supervisor, ODWC
Jenks Office, P.O. Box 1201, Jenks, OK 74037. Fax entries will not
be accepted.

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