Contest winner Matthew Beckford (middle), from Overhills Elementary School in Spring Lake, NC.

Congratulations to three outstanding young writers for winning the 2019 North Carolina Forestry Association (NCFA) Essay Contest! The NCFA Forest Products Week contest featured 600 essays from students in 132 schools.

Student involvement is even more impressive when you consider that teachers only submitted the top five essays from each class. Overall, more than 3,500 students wrote about forestry topics.

The three winners are Matthew Beckford, from Overhills Elementary School in Spring Lake, Katelyn Davis, from Forest Hills Middle School in Wilson, and Timothy McLendon, from Mooresville High School in Mooresville.

Matthew’s essay featured a walk in the woods with his grandpa and cousins. Grandpa taught Matthew about the water cycle, the lifecycle of trees and the importance of forest habitat for birds, bugs, lizards and other animals.

“The forest is a natural resource and we depend on it to survive,” Matthew wrote.

Contest winner Katelyn Davis (third from left), from Forest Hills Middle School in Wilson, NC.

Katelyn celebrated Smokey the Bear’s 75th birthday with an essay entitled “Are All Fires Bad?” She explored the concept of prescribed fires and helped readers understand the role fires play in ecosystem management.

“There were more than 58,000 wildfires in 2018. Prescribed burning helps to manage the brush and excessive plant growth that often causes the spread of these unwanted wildfires,” she explained.

Pianos may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you mention wood products but Timothy’s love for forests, appreciation of sustainable wood products, and his aptitude for music shines through in his essay. He breaks down the components of a piano and shows how different kinds of wood serve different roles in making pianos come alive. Timothy also singles out local production of pianos in Morgantown, Granite Falls, and Kernersville.

“Although I play the saxophone, the piano is a far superior instrument because of its many capabilities and distinctive sound. The sound can most likely be attributed to the many types of wood that are expertly used to garner the best quality from the instrument,” he wrote.

SFI is proud to support the essay contest through the North Carolina SFI Implementation Committee. SFI promotes the value of sustainable forests and builds meaningful relationships in the communities where we operate through 34 SFI Implementation Committees that respond to local needs and issues across Canada and the U.S.

At SFI, we believe that sustainable forests are critical to our collective future. SFI is a leader in sustainable forestry through our work in standards, conservation, community, and education.


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