Entry Categories, Prizes and Judges


Trees are, Pokok adalah,

Our second mother, Mak kedua kita.

And we need to respect them like one

Remember that. Ingat Itu.

~ Saufi, Year 10, Christmas Island District High School (WA)

POEM FOREST is a free nature writing prize that breathes life back into the natural world that sustains us.

Created by Red Room Poetry, in partnership with The Australian Botanic Garden Mount AnnanPOEM FOREST deepens our connection with nature by inviting students and communities to create and publish poems inspired by the natural environment. For every poem received a tree will be planted at Mount Annan to help heal habitats and create a POEM FOREST for future generations.

Categories of entry

  • Lower primary (F–Year 3)
  • Upper primary (Years 4–6)
  • Lower secondary (Years 7–9)
  • Upper secondary (Years 10–12)
  • Threatened Species (F–12)
  • Accredited Teacher (All ages)
  • The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Local Prize (F–12)
  • Wollongong Community Greening Local Prize (F–12)

Prizes

The following prizes will be awarded to the best poem in each category:

  • $500 cash
  • $100 book pack from Magabala Books, Pantera Press, Wonderground Journal
  • Seeds from the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan
  • Judging notes and winner’s certificate

    Highly Commended prizes in each category will also be awarded a book from Magabala Books


Publishing Outcomes

All entries will be published on the Red Room Poetry website with a worldwide audience of 300,000+ readers. A selection of poems and poem excerpts will also be published on botanical tags in the POEM FOREST at the Australian Botanic Garden.


Special Prize Categories

Threatened Species Prize (F-12)

The Threatened Species Prize (F-12) will be awarded to the best poem written in response to Australia’s threatened species. See the list of threatened flora, fauna and ecological communities. The prizes for this category are as listed above.

Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Local Prize (F-12)

The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan Local Prize (F-12) will be awarded to the best poem by a student living or studying on Dharawal Country within the Camden and Campbelltown LGAs. The prizes for this category are as listed above, plus a private garden tour for you and your family. Choose from a Sunset Spotlight Tour through Cumberland Plain Woodland, private First Nations Cultural Tour, or behind-the-scenes PlantBank and Nursery Tour

Wollongong Community Greening Local Prize (F–12)

The Wollongong Community Greening Local Prize (F-12) from Wollongong City Council will be awarded to students living or attending school on Dharawal Country within the Wollongong LGA. Eligible schools in Wollongong can request 30 free plants from Wollongong Botanic Garden.

  • School prize: free school excursion/incursion for one (1) class - up to thirty (30) students with Wollongong Botanic Garden and 30 free plants from the Garden's Greenplan Nursery for the best collaborative class poem and tree planting.
  • Individual prize: see Prizes listed above, plus a $50 voucher to spend at Wollongong Botanic Garden's Greenplan Nursery for the best poem and tree planting.

    Please see Terms and Conditions for eligibility.

Judges

This year, we're thrilled to welcome award-winning author of Bindi, Gunai woman Kirli Saunders (NSW), co-founder of Good Life Permaculture and guest presenter on Gardening Australia, Hannah Moloney (TAS), Senior Research Scientist at The Australian Botanic Garden, Dr Marco Duretto (NSW) & 2021 POEM FOREST Upper Secondary winner, Saufi R (WA) as judges.