A poem by Naomi Ruiz Otero, a sixth grader at Bradley Beach Elementary School, was selected among hundreds by students across the state to win the 13th annual Recycling Poetry Contest sponsored by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
One hundred and forty eight schools submitted a total of 563 poems for the contest, which was open to fourth, fifth and sixth graders, according to Victoria Kerekes, a program specialist for the state DEP’s Bureau of Recycling and Planning.
Students were asked to submit a poem of 100 words or less explaining why they believe recycling is important, why all students and schools should participate in their local recycling programs, and how best to improve New Jersey’s recycling rate.
Judges looked for understanding of theme, originality, ability to convey a concept, and creative thinking and writing, Kerekes said.
Naomi’s poem talks about how the state’s landfills are filling quickly. It shows that reusing trash can be fun as well as helping to protect the environment.
The winners, 12 total, were honored at a luncheon at the Jumping Brook Country Club, Neptune, on Oct. 15, where they will receive a certificate signed by the state commissioner of environmental protection, Bob Martin. Students also will receive a package of items made of recycled material.
“I am honored to be chosen, and I am really excited!” Naomi said. “I have never won anything like this before.”