From the curve of an ancient gum leaf, to bleached coral and the endangered red goshawk, we are delighted to bring you the winning poems of the 2022 POEM FOREST Prize.

Selected from over 5,700 nature poems written by students and teachers across the continent, these 18 winning and highly commended works carry fierce calls for climate action, meditations on hope, and deep love and care for the natural world that sustains us.

Congratulations to our winning poets and all who entered the prize. Every poem has helped to plant native seedlings at The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, restoring habitat and an ancient woodland.

Judges' Report

The 2022 POEM FOREST Prize winners were carefully selected by our wonderful judges; award-winning author of Bindi, Gunai woman Kirli Saunders OAM, co-founder of Good Life Permaculture and guest presenter on Gardening Australia Hannah Moloney, the Australian Institute of Botanical Science’s Dr Marco Duretto and 2021 POEM FOREST Upper Secondary winner Saufi Risal.

“It's an honour to be a judge for this year's POEM FOREST. I found that our next generation of poets are truth-tellers, they're conservationists and they believe in the hope of radical action. They weave poetic techniques seamlessly and paint pictures with their words of the world we live in, and the one we long for. Both worlds feel safer in their hands, and I can't wait to see what our next generation of writers, poets, truth-tellers and game-changers create next.” ~ Kirli Saunders OAM

Read our 2022 POEM FOREST Winners Anthology and Judges' Report here

Winning poems

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Lower Primary (F/K-Y3)

'Flowers In The Field Of The Future' by Angel A, Year 3, Holy Trinity Primary School (ACT)

Highly Commended
'Tigers' by Nguyen V, Year 3, Fitzroy North Primary School (VIC)

Upper Primary (Y4-Y6)

'Remember' by Adele L, Year 5, Westgarth Primary School (VIC)

Highly Commended
'The world is ours' by Rubin D, Year 6, Ross Park Primary School (NT)

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Lower Secondary (Y7-Y9)

'Ngahere Poem' by Harper M, Year 8, Linuwel School Ltd (NSW)

Highly Commended
'Eternal Dusk' by Alyssa M, Year 7, John XXIII College (WA)

Upper Secondary (Y10-Y12)

'In the Valley' by Hannah F, Year 10, Kingston High School (TAS)

Highly Commended
'Low Tide' by Miranda G G, Year 12, Marryatville High School (SA)

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Accredited Teacher

'Christmas Island Frigatebird' by Kathryn Shortland-Jones, Teacher, Christmas Island District High School (WA)

Highly Commended
'Yowarl' by Veronica Lake, Teacher, Presbyterian Ladies College (WA)

Threatened Species Prize (F-12)

'The Great Barrier Reef' by Rohin S, Year 6, Ross Park Primary School (NT)

Highly Commended
The Red Goshawk' by Mischka A, Year 6, Balmain Public School (NSW)
'a short RAPremand' by Charles O, Year 11, Daramalan College (ACT)

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

'Nature within me' by Milo D F, Year 9, St Patrick’s College (NSW)

Highly Commended
'Oh, The Everyday Daisy' by Sarah D, Year 10, Sarah Redfern High School (NSW)

Wollongong Community Greening Local Prize (F-12)

Winner (Individual Poem)
'Guardian Angel' by Livinia M, Year 5, St Columbkilles Catholic Primary School (NSW)

Winner (Collaborative Class Poem)
Gaia' by English Class 8/1, Year 8, Holy Spirit College (NSW)

Highly Commended
If the things that I have loved' by Ellie Y, Year 5, Austinmer Public School (NSW)

Winners Announcement Ceremony

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

Partners and Supporters

  • Australian Botanic Garden

  • McLean Foundation

  • Oranges & Sardines Foundation

  • Graeme Wood Foundation

  • Wollongong City Council & Botanic Garden Wollongong

  • Magabala Books

  • Pantera Press Foundation

  • Artology

  • Landcom

  • Adès Family Foundation

  • Craig & Joy Lawn

  • Affirm Press

  • Wonderground Journal