After reading over 6,400 nature poems spanning waratah flames, a whale’s wings and memories etched in Father Sky, we are thrilled to announce the 2023 POEM FOREST Prize Shortlist.

"Even if I don't win, I just want to spread the message to show that no matter what age or culture, you are wonderful, delicate and powerful too, and you can also be a protector of nature."

~ Sophie A, Year 5 - Abbotsleigh Junior School (NSW)

These outstanding 84 nature poems come from young people and teachers from across Australia. Drawn from more than 6,400 entries, each of these poems has planted a tree on Dharawal Country in the Wollongong LGA, growing a forest of poems for future generations.

Congratulations to all the shortlisted poets, and a huge thanks to every poet who has helped to grow the POEM FOREST.

Shortlisted Poems

Lower Primary (F/K-Y3)

'Baby Possum' by Elysia Roselle W, F/K, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School (NSW)
'My Creek' by Adele B, Year 3, Morphett Vale East School (SA)
'Quiet Coastline' by Maeve J, Year 3, Byron Bay Public School (NSW)
'The Sun’s Friends' by Archer M, Year 3, Fulham North Primary School (SA)
'A waterfall over time' by Arielle B, Year 3, Mount Sinai College (NSW)
'Angels, Not Devils' by Siena J, Year 2, Brunswick South Primary School (VIC)
'The Forest' by Preston A, Year 3, Franklin Primary School (ACT)
'Astrocamper' by Daniel S, Year 3, Ironbark Ridge Public School (NSW)
'The numbat' by Iris O, Year 3, Brunswick South Primary School (VIC)
'Beautiful Trees' by Evander J, Year 2, Ultimo Public School (NSW)
'Red Handfish' by Shepard H, Year 3, Littlehampton Primary School (SA)


Upper Primary (Y4-Y6)

'Mangrove Forests' by Mason W, Year 5, Toogoolawa School (QLD)
'Bush' by Jiki L, Year 6, Ross Park Primary School (NT)
'A Whale's Wings' by Marley D, Year 6, West Launceston Primary School (TAS)
'Wild Pansy' by Lance C, Year 5, Cammeray Public School (NSW)
'blue whale' by Harrison M, Year 5, Hawthornedene Primary School (SA)
'Inside myself' by Isobelle M, Year 5, Brunswick South Primary School (VIC)
'If Only' by Adeline R, Year 5, Lansdowne Crescent Primary School (TAS)
'The Body on the Pavement' by Isla G, Year 6, Matthew Flinders Anglican College (QLD)
'Lionfish, the true King of the Sea' by Natalie A, Year 6, Palmerston District Primary School (ACT)
'Everything I want to be' by Henry G, Year 6, Sydney Church of England Grammar School North Sydney (NSW)
'The Heart of the Sea' by Finnbar S, Year 4, Ross Park Primary School (NT)
'My heaven' by Dinal P, Year 6, Trinity Grammar Preparatory (NSW)


Lower Secondary (Y7-Y9)

'the tree' by Xavier E, Year 7, John XXIII College (WA)
'Bittersweet and Broken' by Audrey C, Year 8, Rosehill Secondary College (VIC)
'Refuge' by Ava V, Year 7, St Michael’s Collegiate School (TAS)
'Halls Creek' by Sage M, Year 8, Melba Copland Secondary School (ACT)
'Calendar Treason' by Chloe W, Year 9, Mount Alexander 7-12 College (VIC)
'Lost In Nostalgia' by Tapasya D, Year 8, Kelvin Grove State College (QLD)
'they’re asking where you went, mother nature' by Zoe S, Year 9, Kardinia International College (VIC)
'The City of Giants' by Kathryn A, Year 8, Launceston Church Grammar School (TAS)
'Waratahs (Telopea speciosissima); most beautiful from afar' by Bella Y, Year 7, Pymble Ladies’ College (NSW)
'Bush Fires' by Allegra L, Year 7, Footscray City College (VIC)
'Te Waikoropupu Springs' by Antonio T, Year 8, Launceston Church Grammar School (TAS)


Upper Secondary (Y10-Y12)

'Spider Orchid' by Chengjia (Julie) S, Year 11, Pymble Ladies’ College (NSW)
'crow culture' by Fig R J, Year 12, Diamond Valley College (VIC)
'A Love Letter to the Near-Silence of Night-Time in Nature' by Ellouise T, Year 10, St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School (QLD)
'The Mushrooms Are Here' by Erin C, Year 11, Launceston College (TAS)
'foreigner's forest' by Evelyn Z, Year 10, Pymble Ladies’ College (NSW)
'We Live Upon Memory' by Hilda H, Year 11, Adelaide High School (SA)
'Seasick' by Finlay S, Year 12, St Brigid’s Catholic College (NSW)
'The jaw of a brother' by Caitlin W, Year 12, Erindale College (ACT)
'Ode to Eggs' by Samuel S, Year 10, Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School (NSW)
'Roadside Regrets' by Grace G, Year 12, The Lakes College Mango Hill (QLD)
'Paper Burnings' by Sze hui L, Year 10, Christmas Island District High School (WA)


Accredited Teacher

'Lament for a Creek' by Renee Schipp, Teacher, Golden Hill Steiner School (WA)
'Solar Wattle' by Siân Lim, Teacher, St Scholastica's College (VIC)
'Two of Every Living Thing' by Blake Nuto, Teacher, St Michael's Collegiate School (TAS)
'Unfurled' by Allaana Bills, Teacher, Aratula State School (QLD)
'The Box' by Pri Victor, Teacher, Thornbury High School (VIC)
'Mallacoota' by Kate Wilkinson, Teacher, Illawarra Christian School (NSW)
'Paperbark: Melaleuca irbyana' by Aloma Davis, Teacher, Toorak College (VIC)
'Punic Wars' by Glenn McPherson, Teacher, Broughton Anglican College (NSW)
'Navigating the Inland Sea' by Blair Mahoney, Teacher, Melbourne High School (VIC)
'Caldera Waltz' by Justin Jones, Teacher, St Joseph's College, Banora Point (NSW)


Threatened Species Prize (F/K-Y12)

'ochre: maire, parama' by Selina D, Year 10, St George Girls High School (VIC)
'The Black Cockatoo' by Abbie C, Year 6, Ross Park Primary School (NT)
'The saving of the Tasmanian Devil' by Berti L, Year 1, Homeschool (VIC)
'The Daintree' by Arelia B, Year 6, Brisbane Christian College (QLD)
'The Gang-gang cockatoo' by Luca H, Year 6, West Launceston Primary School (TAS)
'Australian Sea Lion' by Maya H, Year 3, Orange Grove Public School (NSW)
'The Curlew's Call' by Dane D, Year 4, Littlehampton Primary School (SA)
'Quoll Under Daylight' by Pardis M, Year 11, Hobart College (TAS)
'Gouldian finch' by Dylan M, Year 6, Cheltenham Primary School (VIC)
'Flying Fox' by Steven W, Year 6, Rossmoyne Public School (WA)
'The Last Asterolasia Seed' by Bridgette L, Year 7, St Michael’s Collegiate School (TAS)


Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Local Prize (F/K-Y12)

'The Sad Cloud' by Eden L, Year 4, Homeschool (NSW)
'Spring Day' by Ameena S, Year 8, Macquarie Fields High School (NSW)
'Ocean' by Kingston F, Year 3, St Andrews Public School (NSW)
'Rock Trail' by Ava M, Year 8, Macquarie Fields High School (NSW)
'The Ocean and the Sky' by Adeena R, Year 8, St George High School (NSW)
'What I See' by Rida H, Year 8, Macquarie Fields High School (NSW)


Wollongong Community Greening Local Prize (F/K-Y12)

'Are we too late?' by Ada G, Year 5, Coledale Public School (NSW)
'As spring awakens' by Finau N, Year 6, Cringila Public School (NSW)
'Nature Rules' by Ziggy S, Year 2, Thirroul Public School (NSW)
'Mother Ocean' by Audrey C, Year 6, Fairy Meadow Demonstration School (NSW)
'My meditation' by Alistair V, Year 6, Farmborough Road Public School (NSW)
'the forest along the M5' by Jayda B, Year 11, Illawarra Christian School (NSW)
'Kelly's faces' by Luke V, Year 6, Mount Ousley Public School (NSW)
'Healing heart' by Celie S, Year 5, St Joseph’s Primary School, Bulli (NSW)
'Chop Chop Grandfather Tree' by Kaleb I, Year 5, The Illawarra Grammar School (NSW)
'Bird Hide' by Thomas B, Year 5, Wollongong Public School (NSW)
'The forest rap' by Jett B, Year 5, Mt Ousley Public School (NSW)

Live-streamed via DART Learning
10am AEDT, Thursday 16 November 2023

Tune in for our live broadcast of the Winners Announcement Ceremony – featuring the announcement of winners and highly commended poems across our eight prize categories, guest poets and nature poem readings, an update from the POEM FOREST seedlings, giveaways and more! Tickets are free but bookings are essential.

POEM FOREST would not have been possible without the support of John B. Fairfax AO, Principal Patron of POEM FOREST and other generous partners.