National Forest Products Week

Idaho Student Essay Contest

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To celebrate National Forest Products Week (the 3rd full week in October) the Idaho Forest Products Commission sponsors a statewide essay contest. The essay contest encourages students to learn more about Idaho’s forests, build vocabulary and work toward mastering Idaho Core Standards. Cash prizes are awarded to winning writers and their classrooms!

Learn more about National Forest Products Week here. 

2019 Winners and Honorable Mentions – Click name to read essays

K-2nd Grade Division


3rd-5th Grade Division


6th-8th Grade Division


9th-12th Grade Division





Who may enter?

All K-12 students in Idaho are eligible for the contest.

What are the requirements?

  • Scroll down for the Background Statement, Writing Prompts and Scoring Criteria.
  • Each essay must include the student name, teacher name, email, grade, school name and town.
  • Teachers: Submit only the top five essays per class. If you send more than five per class, the judges are unable to review your essays. Please include a list of all students who complete an essay, so we may provide a Certificate of Participation for every student. Teachers with multiple sections of a class may send the top five essays per class section.

What are the prizes?

Each winning essayist receives a certificate and a cash prize (K-2 $25; 3rd-5th $50; 6th-8th $75; 9th-12th $100). Their classroom receives $100, and their teacher receives a voucher to attend a Project Learning Tree workshop, plus posters and other resources. There is a string attached: The winning essayist must help decide how the class spends its cash award! Honorable mentions are named at each level. Every student receives a Certificate of Participation.

When are the essays due?

Essay submissions must be emailed or postmarked by 11/4/19.

Where should the essays be sent?

Send your essays (top five per class) to:

Via Email Via Mail
Send to:
In SUBJECT, include:
Essay Contest, Teacher Name, Grade
350 N. 9th Street, #102
Boise, ID 83702


What if I have questions?

Email or call 208-334-4061.

Idaho Core Standards. Encourage students to access different types of informational texts and use evidence to support their reasoning. Researching and writing this essay provides an opportunity to work on vocabulary, syntax, and development and organization of ideas.


Forests and trees provide many things—clean air and water; beautiful places to play and relax; homes for birds, fish and other wildlife; carbon storage; energy savings and numerous products for people. One of the best things about trees is that they are a renewable resource. When trees are harvested, new ones grow or can be planted. With sustainable forestry practices, our forests can continue to provide their many benefits for generations to come.


Think about your daily life. Write an essay to a general audience sharing how tree and forest products touch your life, and why they are important to you. You may choose to consider one forest product, or a variety of products. (K-2nd graders may use any media for their “essay.”)

WRITING PROMPT for Grades 6-12

Consider the merits of using wood versus other building materials. Write an essay to a general audience sharing your ideas, supported by your research, about whether using wood for building is a good choice environmentally and economically or not

Grade levels and essay length guidelines
9th-12th graders: Up to 500 words 6th-8th graders: Up to 350 words
3rd-5th graders: Up to 250 words K-2nd graders: May use any media
Scoring Criteria Subcategories Maximum points
Content accuracy
(35 points total)
Clearly relates to the topic. 10
Is accurate and logical. 15
Provides supporting details and/or examples.
If applicable, sources are cited.
Clear writing including grammar, spelling and punctuation.
(30 points total)
Grammar, spelling and punctuation is correct. 15
Information is organized, neatly typed or written and has well constructed paragraphs. 15
(25 points total)
Shows individual thinking skills. 25
Overall likeability
(10 points)
Reader was engaged by the writing and wanted to continue reading the essay. 10
(100 points)


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