Adult Category: "A Trio of Evil" by Christine Jamesson, 57, of Clearwater. Jamesson’s poem took aim at the invasive Cuban marine (bufo) toad, lionfish, and Burmese python. She is the author of several self-published books, including one about dangerous creatures of Florida — such as the bufo toad. A Florida resident since 1988, Christine and her husband are “thinking globally and acting locally” to preserve natural Florida; their landscape has earned designation as both a Certified Wildlife Habitat from the National Wildlife Federation and a Florida-Friendly Yard from the Pinellas County Extension Service.
Junior Category (ages 12-17): "Neglecting the Natives" by James Hsiung, 15, of Tampa. James wrote about the responsibility of local residents in conquering invasive plants and animals. A 10th grader in Hillsborough High School’s International Baccalaureate program, James has experience with invasive plants as a volunteer for Tampa Bay Estuary Program's “Give a Day for the Bay” program, which works to restore native habitat. James is a talented musician — he has played piano since the age of 4 and plays trombone in the high school marching band.
Junior Category (ages 11 AND UNDER): "The Evil Plant" by Kristen Gallo, 11, of Odessa. Kristen’s poem on the pesky air potato came easy, she said, because she had previously researched the topic for a school paper. “I feel bad for the trees that are dying because of it,” she says. Kristen is a 6th grader at Walker Magnet Middle School and enjoys writing and making videos and playing with her triplet siblings, Lia and Matthew.
Each winner received a $250 cash prize. Not too shabby, for coming up with clever rhymes about pesky Florida pests, if you ask me. Read the winning poems on the Tampa Bay Estuary Program's website here.
Image via Blogfish.