From a celebration of the Dharawal season, Ngoonungi, to the aftermath of the Black Summer bushfires and the endangered mountain pygmy possum, we are delighted to bring you the winning poems of the POEM FOREST Prize.
Selected from over 5,000 nature poems written by students and teachers across the continent, these 14 winning and highly commended works soar with wonder for the natural world and carry fierce calls for positive climate action.
Congratulations to our winning poets and all who entered the first year of the Prize. Every poem has helped to plant Forest Red Gum, Grey Box and Narrow-leaved Ironbark seedlings in the soil at The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan.
The 2021 POEM FOREST Prize winners were carefully selected by our wonderful judges; author of Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe, co-host of Back To Nature and author of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Holly Ringland; conservation scientist Dr Cathy Offord; and youth climate activist and slam poet, Solli Raphael.
“Seeing such writing talent, sensitivity and passion in the next generation helps me feel hopeful about the future of our planet and our relationship to the natural world.” ~ Holly Ringland
Read the full Judges' Report here
Lower Primary (F/K-Y3)
'A Dharawal Spring' by Sayf Eldeen A, Year 3, Arkana College (NSW)
'When my feathers could not warm my body anymore but yours' by Zara A, Year 2, Driver Primary School (NT)
Upper Primary (Y4-Y6)
'Bungaree’s Path' by Remi H, Year 5, Cammeray Public School (NSW)
'Change' by Isabelle B, Year 6, Perth College (WA)
Lower Secondary (Y7-Y9)
'Gum Tree' by Syazwani S, Year 9, Hoppers Crossing Secondary College (VIC)
'In Aftermath' by Claudia W, Year 9, Underdale High School (SA)
Upper Secondary (Y10-Y12)
'Our Second Mother' by Saufi R, Year 10, Christmas Island District High School (WA)
'The Reawakening' by Ella J, Year 10, Pacific Lutheran College (QLD)
'Lilly-Pilly' by Mary Prince, Teacher, St Clare's College (NSW)
'Froggery' by Joy Reid, Teacher, Gippsland Grammar (VIC)
Threatened Species Prize (K-Y12)
'I, The Mountain Pygmy Possum' by Lucia S, Year 6, St Therese Catholic Primary School (VIC)
'The Greater Bilby' by April R, Year 5, Northbridge Public School (NSW)
Australian Botanic Garden Local Prize (K-Y12)
'1°C more' by Clodia S, Year 11, Macarthur Girls High School (NSW)
'Silent Cries' by Nitya S, Year 12, Macarthur Girls High School (NSW)