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Students win both state, New England outdoors writing contests

LINCOLN - When Erika Brown talks about fishing, she could be talking about her passion for writing as well.

"It's relaxing, it gives you time to think. It gives you a different outlook on life and the world," she said Friday. Usually not much of an outdoors person, she drew inspiration in the quiet of nature while fishing with her sister and another relative at Moore Dam last year.

This fall, when she saw the notice of the New England Outdoor Writers Association's 2013 Youth Writing Contest posted on her classroom wall, she reached back to the day of fishing.

After writing the best essay in the senior (grades 9-12) division for the state, Brown, a freshman at Lin-Wood High School in Lincoln, went on to win first place overall for New England. Alysse Cleasby, a sixth-grader at Chichester Central School, wrote the winning essay in the junior (grades 6-8) division for New Hampshire, and first place overall for New England.

Students were asked to write an essay of not more than 500 words on an outdoor activity that increased enjoyment and knowledge of nature and natural resources.

Dr. Harold Lyon, board member of NEOWA and chair of the contest, said he is very proud of the young writers, and the English teachers who encouraged them, Kate Dockham of Chichester Central School and Heather Krill of Lin-Wood High School. Lyon visited the two schools and presented the winners with certificates for the contests, and two checks each, $50 each for the state contest, and $100 each for the New England. He also gave each teacher a red rose "to acknowledge their inspiring influence behind the scenes."

Brown and Cleasby will have their essays published in a future issue of North Woods Sporting Journal ( as part of the prize package.


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