west haven public schools seal

April is National Poetry Month! The Land Trust of West Haven is celebrating by hosting a nature-themed poetry contest for 3rd, 4th, and 8th-grade students. The winning poems will be revealed at an award ceremony on Friday, April 28, at 6 pm at the Land Trust’s Poetry Post located on the Savin Rock boardwalk near the Old Grove Park facilities. The rain date will be Saturday, April 29 at 6 pm.

“Parents today are facing a huge challenge,” said Marilyn Wilkes, Vice President of the Land Trust and event co-coordinator. “The way children learn and socialize has changed dramatically over the past decade because they have become so entrenched in the digital world and disconnected from the natural world. It’s vital that we foster a love of nature in children. Poetry is a way for them to explore the beauty they see outside and communicate it to the world.”

According to Colette Bennett, the Board of Education’s language arts coordinator and event co-coordinator, students have been learning about poetry in their classrooms for the past several weeks. In grades 3 and 4 in each elementary school, students are studying the haiku and the tanka, both Japanese poetic forms. 

In grade 8 at Bailey Middle School, students are studying famous poems on the topic of nature. In order to appreciate how the theme of nature is developed in a given poem, they identify patterns of language, structure, and punctuation.

A three-judge panel will determine the winning poems: Tony Fusco, who was named Poet Laureate for the City of West Haven in April of 2019 and Co-President of the Connecticut Poetry Society; Renny Loisel, President of the West Haven Land Trust; and Colette Bennett. Each winner will receive a $50 gift card and a native plant, courtesy of the Land Trust’s Native Plant Initiative.

The Land Trust of West Haven, Inc. is a non-profit organization formed to promote the protection and preservation of natural resources and open space properties of public significance in West Haven with particular emphasis on the shoreline of the Long Island Sound in the general area of Savin Rock.