The winners and runners up in the Young Nature Writer 2022 competition have been announced.
The annual competition is run each spring and summer by UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man, partnering with Manx Wildlife Trust (MWT), Isle of Man Newspapers and, for the first time in 2022, Manx Ornithological Society (MOS).
Young people aged 21 and under are challenged to write up to 500 words about nature and how it makes them feel.
The winner for 2022 was Sophie Wood, eight, who wrote knowledgeably about her garden, and the wildlife that visits it, illustrating it with photos.
Sophie won a beautiful trophy hand-made from local wood, a year’s family membership of MWT and a MWT goody bag, including a bird life calendar produced by MWT’s Biosphere artist in residence Clare Payne.
Winner Sophie with Environment Minister and Biosphere Vice-Chair Hon Clare Barber MHK and, from left, Graham Makepeace-Warne, Engagement Manager, MWT, Rob Fisher from MOS and Leigh Morris, CEO, MWT.
Best bird entry was by Timmy Clarke, 10, who sent in an amusing entry about a surprise encounter he had with one of the Isle of Man’s most distinctive birds, a peregrine falcon.
He won a pair of binoculars and bird book from the MOS and a MWT goody bag.
Runners-up Emmy Rogerson, Jasmine Quayle, Iva Petrova, Sophia Manley and Marija Vasic all received MWT goody bags.
Prizes were presented by Clare Barber MHK, Vice-Chair of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man and Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, at MWT’s gift shop in Peel.
The Minister said: ‘Nature is key to our existence. Connecting people with nature and encouraging them to become knowledgeable about it and care about it is therefore a major role of our UNESCO Biosphere under its strategy ‘Working Together for a Sustainable Future’.
‘This competition encourages young people to get out into nature at the best time of year, enjoy it and record their thoughts and observations. We had some fantastic entries again this year. Congratulations to all who took part and make sure you look out for the competition again in 2023.’
Graham Makepeace-Warne, Engagement Manager at MWT, said: ‘It was a joy to help judge this year’s entries. The standard was extremely high, which made it a tough decision. The opportunity to view our Island’s wildlife through the young writers' eyes was delightful and reminded me of how my own love of nature started.
‘MWT aligns with the UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man in many ways and connecting people strongly to nature is a core part of our strategy. It’s great to see so many young people getting out, studying, and writing about our Island wildlife.’
Rob Fisher, of the MOS, said, 'There were some fantastic entries this year. Encouraging the next generation to use their creative side and write about the natural world around them was highly rewarding. The Isle of Man is home to a rich diversity of birds, with 166 species regularly occurring, so it was great to see many thoughtful submissions about our Manx birds, which made for enjoyable reading.’
Winning and runner-up entries will appear in Isle of Man Newspapers, in MWT’s Manx Nature magazine and here on the UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man website.
Sophie’s winning entry will be judged against the winner of Dublin Bay Biosphere’s competition for the annual inter-Biosphere prize, a nature experience. The result will be announced shortly.