Long Lake celebrates Arbor Day with poetry contest

Arbor Day poets pose with their certificates during the celebratory gala held at Long Lake Public Library. (Photo provided)

LONG LAKE — Senior citizens gathered at the Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Long Lake Public Library for the Arbor Day Poetry Contest Gala on Wednesday.

The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District hosted the annual Arbor Day Poetry Contest for senior citizens this past spring. Twenty-five poets submitted lantern poem based on the theme “Hope Grows Through Trees.” Special guest judge Kathy Stewart ranked blind copies.

For the gala this week, Long Lake Library Manager Kristel Guimara coordinated the venue and refreshments. Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Caitlin Stewart awarded certificates of merit, and town-wide and overall certificates. The seniors read their poems, and enjoyed visiting with old and new friends.

“The Arbor Day Poetry Contest turned 15 this year, and record numbers of poets submitted entries from as far away as West Virginia,” said District Manager Caitlin Stewart. “I always look forward to re-working the theme and poetic form each year to keep the contest fresh for our seniors. It is important to me to offer something fun just for them.”

Stewart said this year’s contest featured a “very different format.”

Second place winner Patricia Paton shares her poem during the Arbor Day Poetry Contest gala. (Photo provided)

“The lanturne, or lantern poem is structured to resemble a Japanese lantern. While the format is rigid, the sentiments expressed by this year’s submissions were all different and truly uplifting,” she said. “Spring, and a tree’s rebirth, are joyful to see. Watching the forest transform from the gray of winter to the bright green of spring seems to bring a renewal of hope, as do these amazing poems.”

Camille Cristaldi of Long Lake received first place. Her poem read: “Hope / Comes from / Views of trees / Against bright, blue.”

Patricia Paton of Wells received second place, and Nancy B. Williams of Lake Pleasant received third place. They received wildflower seed packets. Cristaldi also received a hand carved walking stick from Long Lake poet enthusiast Bob Tice.

“By participating in the district’s annual Arbor Day Poetry Contest, I get to share my concerns about the environment with people like me who live here in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains,” said Long Lake poet Bob Tice. “If we destroy this habitat, we will be destroying our future. It’s fun and rewarding seeing more and more tree-loving poets enter the contest every year.”

“Bob Tice participated in the first poetry contest in 2008, and hasn’t missed a single year,” said Stewart. “He rallies the Long Lake poets, and encourages them to enter. He has become a very special friend, and we share poems and Beatles songs year-round.”

Poems bloom on the Arbor Day PoeTree. (Photo provided)

Arbor Day was celebrated April 28 and honored the importance of planting trees.

Seniors interested in participating in the 2024 Arbor Day Poetry Contest can contact the District for more information.


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