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Second Annual Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Intergenerational Poetry, Essay and Photography Contest

Release Date: 03/18/2008
Contact Information: Shakeba Carter-Jenkins, (202) 564-4355 /

(Washington, D.C. - March 18, 2008) The U.S. EPA Aging Initiative, in partnership with Generations United and the Rachel Carson Council Inc., are inviting submissions for its Second Annual Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Intergenerational Poetry, Essay and Photography Contest.

Carson is considered to be the founder of the contemporary environmental movement through her landmark book, Silent Spring. Its publication is credited with reversing the nation's pesticide policy.

Using the title of another of Carson's books, "The Sense of Wonder," the contest is seeking submissions from intergenerational teams "that best express the "Sense of Wonder" that you feel when observing the sea, the night sky, forests, birds, wildlife, and all that is beautiful to your eyes."

"Through this contest, we are inspiring the youngest and oldest among us to appreciate wonders and beauty of the natural world," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.

"We experience a sense of wonder at every point in our lives, whether as children or older adults. The contest's intergenerational message exemplifies a long history of environmental work bridging the generations which goes back to the first Earth Day," said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. "We are delighted to again co-sponsor this important contest."

The contest's intergenerational approach reflects Carson's desire to have adults share with children a sense of wonder about nature and help them discover its joys. Entries must be intergenerational involving a team of persons related or unrelated and describe the intergenerational project and how this project brought the team in touch with the natural world.

The deadline for entries is Monday, June 16, 2008. A panel of expert judges will select finalists. The winners in each category will then be determined by the public, who will have an opportunity to vote on-line in July and August for their favorite submission in each category: photography, essay, and poetry. Winners will be announced on the EPA Aging Initiative Web site in October during Children's Health month.

Carson wrote that she would endow every child with "a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life." However, "if a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in."

The contest seeks to spur and instill that same sense of wonder among all generations.

For more information, see: