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2012 Essay Contest: The Winners!

"How I'm Going Wild for Animals This Summer"

Published 07/17/12

As part of Keep Wildlife in the Wild Month 2012, Born Free USA sponsored its first ever "How I'm Going Wild for Animals This Summer" essay contest for students. We had three categories — ages 10 and younger, ages 11 through 14, and ages 15 through 18. Below are the winning entries. Each winner will receive a certificate, T-shirt, plush animal of choice (we have seven to choose from), a $50 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, and a free "adoption" from the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. The prize package is valued at $142!

Ages 10 and Younger

First Place: James Balderston, 9, of Clarendon Hills, IL

Ages 11 through 14

First Place: Olivia Jo Lyford, 11, of Roseville, CA

Everything in the wild from lions to bugs has a purpose in the circle of life. Deer keep the grass down. Lions keep the deer from eating all the grass so hedgehogs will get their share. If you hunt down our wild animals our wild kingdom will go wrong. We will have a mix of overpopulation and extinction of our animals. If you hunt lions they will be extinct and lots of their prey will be born. This year to go wild for wild life, I will let others know about the beauty of the animals who are at a helpless rate.

Ages 15 through 18

First Place: Joseph Maa, 15, of Diamond Bar, CA

It wasn't since a few weeks ago that I realized that each individual "pet" still retained some of the traits that keep them unique. My sister's parakeet showed constant yearning to learn and be free. In fact, once she had released one into the wild after seeing its passion to see the world. Every day, she would let the bird, Minty Bleu, out of his cage to let him roam the house, always to him find him at the window sill. One day, when my sister and cousin played with him one final time outside, they then released Minty Bleu on a beautiful day to give him his freedom. So this was how I learned about speciation and how species are created, not from a biology class, but through the study of living animals.

Honorary mention: Celia Balderston, 13, of Clarendon Hills, IL

One of the most beautiful things in life has to be watching animals. I have grown up with pets and animals my whole life and I love all animals. My favorite animal is a dolphin because they are extremely intelligent and both dependent and independent. They are great companions and they are very fun to be around. The first time I saw one I was completely awestruck! One thing that has to stop is pollution. It kills tons of harmless animals, and other creatures! I think that what some people have to remember is animals are the same as us. They look different on the outside, but we are all the same on the inside.

Honorary mention: Ella Hursh, 9, of Middleton, WI

I was in San Francisco, California, on some large rocks surrounding a tide pool. I felt like an explorer as I gingerly hopped off the last stone onto what looked like a deserted island. I was wrong. A starfish and a sea anemone had salvaged an area I would never have attempted to live in. One sea slug ate algae off some pebbles while another one glided on the current. A small crab scuttled across my path. That's when I decided this miniature world of hard workers deserved protecting. I hoped all explorers would feel the same way.

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