Phillips wins state award on local river cleanup essay

Special to the Enterprise

March 7, 2014

FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts, in partnership with the Kentucky Farm Bureau, honored the winners of the 2013 Jim Claypool Art and Conservation Writing Contest.

The annual contests — an art contest for students in grades one through five and a writing contest for students in grades six through 12 — allow them to use the knowledge they have gained about the environment and transform it into creative art work and essays. The awards ceremony was held Feb. 27 in conjunction with Biodiversity Day in Kentucky, which promotes awareness and stewardship of the state’s biologically diverse ecosystem.

The contests’ theme, Mission: H2O, helped students from across the state learn more about the quality and quantity of clean water in Kentucky.

Jay Phillips, a junior at Harlan County High School, was recognized as the state third-place winner in the writing contest. His entry was one of 17,004 writing entries from 94 counties across the Commonwealth.

His essay concerned polluted waterways and the damage to a clean drinking water source which led to a community driven cleanup of the Poor Fork River. He wrote about the debris pulled from the river and several illegal dumps by members of Boy Scout Troop 149, focusing on efforts to secure a cleaner river which serves as the source for drinking water for many in Harlan County.

Phillips was awarded a monetary gift from Kentucky Farm Bureau and a copy of “A Guide to the Freshwater Mussels of Kentucky” from the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission.

The awards were presented by Jeff Harper of Kentucky Farm Bureau, David Rowlett of Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts and Pamla Wood of Kentucky Conservation Commission. He will also receive recognition on the local level from the Harlan County Conservation District.