K-12 Idaho Student Essay Contest

Celebrating National Forest Products Week

To celebrate National Forest Products Week (the 3rd full week in October) the Idaho Forest Products Commission sponsors a statewide essay contest. The essay contest encourages students to learn more about Idaho’s forests, build vocabulary and work toward mastering Idaho Content Standards. Cash prizes are awarded to winning writers and their classrooms!   

Click here to view the 2022 winners!



Who may enter?

All K-12 students in Idaho are eligible for the contest.

What are the requirements?

  • Scroll down for the Background Statement, Writing Prompts and Scoring Criteria.
  • Each essay must include the student name, teacher name, email, grade, school name and town.
  • Teachers: Submit only the top five essays per class. If you send more than five per class, the judges are unable to review your essays. Teachers with multiple sections of a class may send the top five essays per class section. Please include a list of all students who complete an essay, so we may provide a Certificate of Participation for every student.

What are the prizes?

Each winning essayist receives a certificate and a cash prize (K-2nd $25; 3rd-5th $50; 6-8th $75; 9-12th $100). The winner’s classroom receives $100, and their teacher receives a voucher to attend a Project Learning Tree workshop, plus posters and other resources. There is a string attached: The winning essayist must help decide how the class spends its cash award! Honorable mentions are named at each level. Every student receives a Certificate of Participation.

When are the essays due?

Essay submissions must be submitted online or postmarked by NOVEMBER 4, 2022.

What if I have questions?

Email plt@idahoforests.org or call/leave a message at 208-863-1512.

Idaho Content Standards. Encourage students to access different types of informational texts and use evidence to support their reasoning. Researching and writing this essay provides an opportunity to work on vocabulary, syntax, and development and organization of ideas.


Background Statement

We expect a lot from our forests. They provide clean air and water; beautiful places to play and relax; homes for birds, fish and other wildlife; energy savings; products for people; and jobs and revenues for local communities. Trees also help capture and store carbon, reducing negative impacts to climate. When trees are harvested, the wood products made from them continue to store carbon. One of the best things about trees is that they are a renewable resource. When trees are harvested, new ones grow or can be planted. With sustainable forestry practices, our forests can continue to provide their benefits for generations to come.

(New!) Writing Prompt for Grades K-5

Trees and forest products touch your life every day. Write an essay to an audience of Idaho trees or a forest, expressing how you appreciate what they do for you, and what you’ll do to ensure healthy trees and forests for the future. (K-1st graders may use any media for their “essay.”)

(New!) Writing Prompt for Grades 6-12

Idaho’s forests are managed by state and federal agencies, local governments, tribes, forest products businesses and individuals. Forests today face numerous challenges, including climate change and uncharacteristic wildfire. Imagine you are in charge of Idaho’s forests. Write an essay for a general audience discussing the challenges faced by Idaho forests and your recommendations for how forests should be managed for the future.

Grade levels and essay length guidelines
9th-12th graders: Up to 500 words 6th-8th graders: Up to 350 words
2nd-5th graders: Up to 250 words K-1st graders: May use any media
Scoring Criteria Subcategories Maximum points
Content accuracy
(35 points total)
Clearly relates to the topic. 10
Is accurate and logical. 15
Provides supporting details and/or examples.
If applicable, sources are cited.
Clear writing including grammar, spelling and punctuation.
(30 points total)
Grammar, spelling and punctuation is correct. 15
Information is organized, neatly typed or written and has well constructed paragraphs. 15
(25 points total)
Shows individual thinking skills. 25
Overall likeability
(10 points)
Reader was engaged by the writing and wanted to continue reading the essay. 10
(100 points)


Printer Friendly 2022 Student Essay Contest Guidelines


How should essays be submitted?

Please submit essays online using the form below.  You can also mail essays to:  IFPC Essay Contest, 350 N. 9th Street, No. 102, Boise, ID 83702

Before submitting!  Make sure that each essay includes teacher’s name and email; student’s full name; grade; school name and town.

2022 K-12 Student Essay Contest

  • Max. file size: 50 MB.
  • Max. file size: 50 MB.
  • Max. file size: 50 MB.
  • Max. file size: 50 MB.
  • Max. file size: 50 MB.
  • Teachers: If you would like all students who completed an essay to receive a Certificate of Participation, please paste a list of student names here.