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2015 Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards contest winners announced

MISSOULA, Mont. – Outdoor Writers Association of America awarded 12 Norm Strung Youth Writing Award prizes totaling $1,700.

The annual contest, sponsored by the Safari Club International Foundation, has categories for poetry and prose in two divisions: junior (grades 6-8) and senior (grades 9-12) and the piece must be outdoor-oriented. First-place winners in all categories received $250, second-place winners received $125 and third-place winners received $50. This year’s winners are:

Junior Poetry

  • First place: “Cycle,” by Nathan James Phuong; Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Second place: “How to be a hawk,” by Griffin Bannon; Brunswick, Maine (Center for Teaching and Learning)
  • Third place: “Ode to a conch shell,” by Sydney Sullivan; Portland, Maine (Acorns, Center for Teaching and Learning)

Senior Poetry

  • First place: “Fish Catching,” by Michelle Chen; Whitestone, New York
  • Second place: “Dear Mother,” by Deanna Altomara; Mahwah, New Jersey
  • Third place: “Untitled,” by William V. Hartley; Tuckerson, New Jersey

Junior Prose

  • First place: “It was big enough,” by Reese Blakeney; Leesville, Louisiana (Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association Newsletter)
  • Second place: “Young lady Sherlock Holmes cracks the case,” by Rylee Gjesvold; Ham Lake, Minnesota (Minnesota Outdoor News)
  • Third place: “Bringing home the bacon,” by Ramsay Smith; Paw Paw, Michigan (Michigan Outdoor News)

Senior Prose

  • First place: “Those treasured weeks of November,” by Brooke Cote; Cook, Minnesota (Minnesota Outdoor News)
  • Second place: “The delicate arc of a falling pheasant,” by Elizabeth Rubbelke; Rogers, Minnesota (Minnesota Outdoor News)
  • Third place: “The magic of the salt marsh,” by Ryan Chelius; Rockville Centre, New York (New York Outdoor News)

Winning entries from this year’s contest will be printed in the December/January issue of Outdoors Unlimited, OWAA’s magazine.

OWAA’s Norm Strung Youth Writing committee, chaired by Glenn Sapir, reviewed entries and selected the winners. Thanks to the following members for judging this year’s applications: Glenn Sapir, Capt. John Bigbie, Colleen Miniuk-Sperry and Larry Morgan.

The deadline for next year’s entries is March 15, 2016. For complete contest rules and more information, visit

The Norm Strung Youth Writing Contest was named after Norm Strung, who served as OWAA president in 1984-1985. Now deceased, Strung received OWAA’s Excellence in Craft award in 1989. In 1988, Strung was the Ham Brown recipient for service to OWAA. That same year, he organized and edited a book for OWAA titled “Selling the Outdoor Story.” He was also recognized as the Outstanding Board member in 1975.

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