Celebrating Green Pencil Award winners

Twenty primary pupils in Edinburgh were congratulated at the Green Pencil Awards 2011 in the Central Library last Friday (25 November).

The competition, which started in August, had the theme of 'forests and trees', since 2011 is the UN's International Year of Forests.

The overall winner was James Macnab, a primary seven pupil from Cargilfield School, who won the 2011 Green Pencil Award with his poem The Last Christmas Tree.

James impressed the panel of literary judges with the power of his writing [full text of his poem below]. His trophy was presented by the Edinburgh Makar, Ron Butlin.

The competition attracted a record number of entries (more than 1,100!) from children across Edinburgh. With so many entries, the judges had a difficult task on their hands.

They also awarded highly commended prizes to Flossie Barlas, Cargilfield School, Green Giant; Cristina Grohmann, Edinburgh Steiner School, Blossoms of Spring; Alexander Marriot, Towerbank Primary, The Tree; Jasmin Dorr, Sciennes Primary, The Dance; Kate Millar, Dean Park Primary, Tree memories and Alice Prince-Tappe, Trinity Primary, Love in Nature.

Organised by Edinburgh City Libraries and Eco-Schools in Edinburgh, the creative writing competition is in its fourth year.

Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture and Leisure Convener for The City of Edinburgh Council, said: "The Green Pencil Awards present a wonderful opportunity for Edinburgh's young people to demonstrate their creative writing skills and show how much they know and care about protecting their environment. Congratulations to each of our 20 prize winners. It's a terrific achievement to be selected from over a thousand excellent entries and I look forward to seeing more of their work in the future."

Also taking part at the awards ceremony was local performance poet Anita Govan, this year's Green Pencil poet, who entertained the children with an interactive poem and a specially written poem, Trees, for the occasion. Anita will also host a poetry learning for all the winners at the Central Library in the New Year.

The Green Pencil Awards are run by Edinburgh City Libraries and Eco-Schools in Edinburgh, with sponsorship from The Scottish Book Trust, The Scottish Poetry Library, UNESCO City of Literature, The Royal Botanics Garden Edinburgh, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Countryside Ranger Service and Forestry Commission Scotland, who provided prizes for all the winners. In addition, the overall winner received educational visits for his class to Edinburgh Zoo and local forestry and ranger projects.

The Last Christmas Tree

I stand there shivering behind curtains of snow,
With a white woolly hat covering my green mane.
My rough brown coat, robbed by the wind,
Eating bitter snow balls thrown by children.

The wind carries hymns from churches,
But then slaps my face.
My rooted legs hidden by blankets
Of snow; they are too tired to fight the winter.

My great green friends were taken into homes,
Protecting presents, until Christmas morning,
Standing tall next to fires,
But now they are still and dead.

I stand at the edge of what is left of a forest;
Because humans are kidnapping us trees.
With a bang and a crash, more of my friends fall!
But I have been left,
I have not been cut down,
I am the last Christmas tree standing!

For now...

James Macnab     P7, Cargilfield School

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