Save The Planet Essay Contest 2020

Winner of the $1000 Essay Award is Jennalee Meck, a junior at PCHS.  You can read her essay “The Way to Waste Reduction through Minimalistic Mentalities and Recycling” here.
There were 28 entries and they were all notable.  We had such a hard time deciding on the winner, that we have awarded $100 to 5 runners up in no order:  Charity Warder, Haylee Smith Hayhurst, Sienna Bircher, Macaden Taylor, and Savanah McMillion. Their essays and linked videos are below.

Jennalee Meck's winning essay and video.
Charity Warder's essay and video.
Haylee Hayhurst's essay and video.
Sienna Bircher's essay and video.
Macaden Taylor's essay and video
Savanah McMillion's essay and video. (please note this video is embedded in a Word document for download)

Our original plan was to present the award at an Earth Day event, April 22, at the Hillsboro Library.  The award was available to young Pocahontas County residents of high school age, and they had to send an entry form in by January 15.  A few forms were received in the mail, but Eight Rivers Council is thankful to teachers at PCHS and especially Jan Jonese for their help with submissions.  Many of the essays concerned trash – plastic, recycling, the landfill, etc. and we could be an example to the world if Pocahontas County residents would follow suggestions from our young people.  Other topics were cowpots (planting containers made from dried manure), road salt, outdoor wood furnaces, renewable energy, logging, the destructive impacts of cars and roads, and various impacts to water quality from litter to pipelines.  The Pocahontas Times plans to publish Jennalee’s essay in the Earth Day paper and more of the essays in future issues.

We hope to do this again next year, and to finance it further, we were going to make the Earth Day event where we presented the award a fundraiser.  Needless to say, that is not an option now, but feel free to help out by sending a check to Eight Rivers Council, PO Box 282, Hillsboro, WV 24946.

Instructions for Contestants

Saving the Planet, Starting in Pocahontas County.
To apply:
• Print and complete ENTRY FORM, check required boxes, sign and mail to:
Eight Rivers Council
PO Box 282
Hillsboro, WV 24946
• Entry Deadline: Must be postmarked by Jan 15, 2020.
Instructions for Entry:
• Choose one environmental issue pertaining to Pocahontas County (and the planet) about
which you are passionate.
• Conduct research on the issue, collecting data such as history, facts, figures, scientific
studies, quotes from interviews with scientists or other experts.
• Think creatively and make decisions about what can be done, specifically about what you and
others can do to make a positive impact.
• Write an informed and convincing essay (1000 to 3000 words), making a case as to why your
chosen issue is important to Pocahontas County and to you personally. State actions you can
take or contributions you can make. Demonstrate passion and give solid solutions.
• Pictures, charts, and diagrams are suggested, but not necessary.
• Cite your sources on a separate page, using Modern Language Association (MLA) format.
For MLA instructions, copy and paste the following into your browser:
• Produce an interesting supporting video - like a TED Talk - in which you introduce and
summarize your essay (DO NOT READ). (Duration: 3 to 5 minutes)
To see examples of TED talks, visit:
If you have questions, email
To Submit Entry:
• On or before March 1, 2020, submit your entry by email to
• Make the subject line of your email message as follows:
“your name AWARD ENTRY”, as in Mary Jones AWARD ENTRY
• Attach separately the 3 parts of your entry (essay, source page, video).
Do not paste your essay into the message.
Winner will be notified by April 8.
Award will be publicly announced on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, 2020
at the Hillsboro Library Public Affairs Briefing, during which the winner will present essay
and video to the audience and the final award will be presented to the winner.