Young Environmental Writers Workshop Published Work

Scroll down the page to find completed work by students who are exploring nature as well as different ways to write about the environment. We have worked with a teacher and students from Montgomery Blair High School but we encourage other Montgomery County schools to get involved in this project.

A Light through Those Leaves

By Yanci Cueva

Yancey sizedI don't want to hear a phone ringing.

I just want to hear the birds tweeting.
There is a place that brings me calm
There is a place where a stream goes down.
The sound of the frogs singing and splashing
Can be heard from the end of a foggy trail
Where the view is wonderful and fantastic.
White rocks and lichen. Moss covered trees.

To witness this wonder is what a human needs.
Conifers and pine trees, swinging with the wind,
Make me feel delighted, make me feel the breeze.
The creatures hide from us
Raccoons, squirrels, and deer
They might think we don’t know
But the sounds they make we can hear.
Some trees have fallen, mostly the oldest
Oh, how much I love the deciduous forest.

It starts to rain, and I sit on a rock
Then I see the creek that is coming from the north.
As I cross the bridge I see many fish on the water,
These are swimming happily, like if nothing really matters.
Oh what a shrine I have found!

A divine silence clean, and clean water from the ground.
I love the song I am hearing. It’s the spring I’m seeing.
It comes from the roots of a tree
If you ask for a wish, it would give you three.

Finally, the cloudy sky disappears,
And I want to climb the highest tree.
I feel the warm sunlight coming through the leaves
No more rain falls. This is such a gift.
Anyways, I don’t want to go home tonight
I just want to keep seeing the light.

At the time this poem was written, Yanci Cueva was a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD.

Little Bennett

By Edwin Abarca

20As I walked along the trail, I felt a vast emptiness.

It was quiet and many pine trees were on the ground.
But it gave a feeling of
Peace and friendliness,
A huge feeling that I could not
Turn down.
I had such a great view, like
I was on top of the world.
My phone camera would have
Made it last.
A huge field of leafless trees
My memory took the flash.
Beautiful Bennett.

At the time this poem was written, Edwin Abarca was a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD.

Understanding Trees

By Lea Sanon

19Just because trees can’t talk
Doesn’t mean we can just them down
Doesn’t mean we can burn trees down
Doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.

Just because trees can’t talk
Doesn’t mean they don’t want to leave.
I see lots of beautiful trees
I smell pines.
I hear birds singing.
I feel a cold breeze.
I taste fresh air.
I think it’s paradise.
I don’t understand
Why people would want to destroy our parks,
Why some wild animals have to flee their habitats,
Why people can be so selfish.
But most of all,
Why humans cut trees down
Why we put others in danger of air pollution
Why we must throw litter on our local streets and parks.
What I understand most is
Why the wild animals love wandering around in the wilderness
Why it smells so fresh
Why the birds sing
Why water runs on tree roots.

At the time this poem was written, Lea Sanon was a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD

Nature's Road

By Jennifer Martinez

Jennifer Little BennettNow we are heading back listening to the music of the creek. We begin our five minutes of silence, those five minutes we blend in with nature as I watch how nature’s roots reach out of the earth’s grip, thirsty for water. Then the thing we do best began; we speak and society comes back to us like a creeper with a sign that reads “parking up ahead.” Consecutively, the echoes of cars come and we are no longer alone, calling us back as if we never belonged in the first place. As we boarded our bus to ride back, I caught myself worrying about my shoes and how dirty they have gotten, oh so human I am being.

While on the road, our eyes hardly glance through the windows; instead we talk or analyze our phones. In this silence of mine, I thank God my phone is charging in the front because I would have never realized how hard-wired we are to society’s norms. It’s just fascinating because I am the same.

Today I saw a baby pine tree. I’ve never seen one before -- not even any other baby tree. I wouldn’t have ever stopped and looked for anything nature-related in Silver Spring because we have other deadlines to meet and places to go. But hey, I’m out of the “never seen a baby tree” category. A place like Little Bennett has always been one of my favorite places to settle, relax and wood air bathe, a term I learned today.
County parks are very important to our culture because we need to show younger generations to come and observe that we haven’t destroyed our land fully, even though industry might want to tear our parks down. Fresh air is a limited option within an urban environment, and parks are known for their fresh nature smell. One may notice after walking through a park that you feel happy or just relaxed? That’s wood air bathing. Walking through a big beautiful forest is an anti-depressant which makes even the grumpiest soul feel good. Parks hold many of our wild animals and they deserve a home just as much as we do.

On the ICC going 60 mph, it’s hard to catch things. But what catches my attention is not the road ahead but the ivy and how it creeps onto the ICC walls, just trying to take back what was once theirs.

Jennifer Martinez is a student at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD. She has been on two YEWW hikes.

My observations of our environment

By Zaevon Prince

Littering-facts-litter-on-streetOne thing that I have noticed about the environment from time to time is the littering issue. What I have come to see is that whether someone litters or not has a lot to do with the presence of others. For example, I have seen on numerous occasions someone shoot a piece of trash into a trash can as if it were a basketball and miss or just throw a simple piece of trash on the floor, like a water bottle or wrapper. The point is that these people that I have seen do this wouldn’t pick their trash up until somebody in the area sees them in the act and looks at them like, “Are you going to pick that up?” It’s as if the person who is littering is self-pressured into picking up their trash and putting it in its proper place. I think the simple way to fix this problem is to make signs with eyes on them and have them read: “We see you. Please pick up your trash,” with an arrow pointing to a trash can. This sign should be designed kind of like the Mona Lisa, where contact with the eyes on the sign is inevitable. This would add an extra sense of pressure on a person to go pick up that trash.

At the time this opinion piece was written, Zaevon Prince was a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD.

Why does it keep snowing?

By Dereck Luong

Dereck LuongLooking through the window
Pouring cereal in a bowl.
Outside there is a lot of snow.
I wonder if this is a prank.
Don’t think so.
Wait a minute. This is May.
It’s freezing and the gas pipe blew up yesterday..
Should I pray or just keep eating?
The sky got so bright even with an absence of the sun
Ring Ring Ring…
My boss tells me to go to work.
The sun is not even up.
Then why should I show up for work?
Oh yes. Money

At the time this was written, Dereck Luong was as senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD.

A Letter to the Montgomery County Council

Dear Montgomery County Council:

AiyanaSometimes it’s good to get away from all the city noise. Sugarloaf and Little Bennett are great places for people to get away from stress, or just go there to enjoy nature. It’s important to protect these places because without natural forests and parks our county would be in poor condition. I feel like everyone would be in a better mood if they could go to these places. Being around nature calms you down. We have to protect the parks because once they’ve gone, they’re gone, and you can’t get those natural places back.

I’ve been on a few hikes with Conservation Montgomery at Blair HS. Living in Montgomery County can feel very cramped and overwhelming. For me, getting out of the busy city is a stress reliever. Whenever I go to the parks I feel like I can breathe better and the stress just lifts off of me. Keeping these parks in their natural state is important so people can go and get away from their problems.


Aiyana Chery

At the time this was written, Aiyana Chery was a 9th grade student at Montgomery Blair High School.

A View from Sugarloaf Mountain

By Yoel Weldegiorgis

YoelOur hike at Sugarloaf was my second hike in my 18 years of life and it was really beautiful. We went up to the mountain. Before we walked a lot we saw a huge rock and the panorama from that rock was really great. We saw everything from the top of that rock; we experienced bird's eye view. We could see the forests and also a far-away mountain on the other side. I felt like I was on top of the Empire State Building looking at New York City except that this was a park that was quiet, peaceful, fresh, green, and perfect-looking. We took pictures taken on that beautiful environment. We viewed the other mountains with the binoculars that we borrowed from Ms. Barnes and it was beautiful.

I wasn’t a fan of nature before but after I went on the two hike- the first at Rachel Carson Trail, which was also a great one-- my whole view of nature has changed. I became more interested in nature, in its beauty, in its freshness, in its peace, in the way that it relaxes, in the happiness that it brings. It was peaceful until I heard a gunshot. That gunshot shattered the peace into pieces; it was too loud and too scary. I felt like some bomb was dropped on the mountain. Some people were hunting. It was the first time I heard a gunshot. I never thought it would be this loud. It was loud as a lion’s roar. It was also the first time some of my friends heard a gunshot. But then we went on. We passed through the beautiful trees, and we saw different kinds of plants. Everything was green. I learned about ferns in school but I saw them up close Sugarloaf Mountain.

On our way back to the bus, we saw a beautiful gigantic white rock. The top of that rock was the summit. I really felt like ascending that enormous rock and see what the summit looks like and what it feels to be there but we didn’t have time to go up to it. My friend and I were talking about it, about how beautiful it is and how to ascend it, and looked at it for a long time since it was perfect. I hope I’ll climb up to the summit one day.

At the time this was written, Yoel Weldegiorgis was a senior at Montgomery Blair High School.

The work on this page was generated by the Conservation Montgomery Young Environmental Writers (YEW) Workshop. We publish various forms of environmental writing by local high school students who participated in this project funded by a grant from the Ohio-based Green Shanny Foundation. Read more about the YEW project in this CM e-newsletter.