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Miami Dade College
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Betsy Hilbert Writing Challenge for 2004-2


Re-Storying South Florida 
an invitation to write about natural places in our bioregion* with passion and heart

“Without Stories, we do not know who we are,
nor what we might become.”
–D.H. Lawrence

$500 of Challenge Awards - Entry Form

Story/Essay                                                              Poetry

1st - $250     2nd -$100                                           1st - $100     2nd -$50


Explore and celebrate South Florida’s bioregion*while at the same time raising awareness about the current state of our land and natural resources.



that focuses on South Florida’s bioregion and eco-system.

In her book, The Wild Heart of Florida, Susan Cerulean asserts:
I have a strong hunch that the real stories of Florida are so powerful, so gripping, so various, and so enriching that if we were to somehow reclaim them and weave them into our culture, things would be very different in our state. The notion of security as we view it now would seem dull, compared to the life in the living forests and springs and prairies.   (3)

We invite you to write your own real stories in prose and/or poetry and re-envision South Florida’s bioregion while celebrating the richness and beauty of our state.


This writing challenge is open to all students enrolled at Miami-Dade College during the Spring term 2004-2. Only one essay and/or poem may be submitted per student. 

Date due: March 24, 2005



Please consider assigning this essay/poem to your students as part of your coursework. Professors of winning entries will be specially acknowledged by the EEI in April of 2005.

Entries must be original work and must be accompanied by an official, completed EEI application entry form (attached to this document).

Entries are due to faculty contacts (listed on entry form) by March 24, 2005.

Winners will be announced in April of 2005.



1.  Your story should focus on South Florida’s bioregion. 

2.  Consider discussing one or more of the Four Sacred Earth Elements (land, water, fire, and air).

3.  Refer to resources on our EEI website: Consider what makes a good story good: elements of plot, characterization, setting, and point of view. Refer to this website for ideas: .

4. Consult a current grammar text to review your grammar.

5. You may wish to discuss this essay/poem with one of your professors (perhaps writing credit can be arranged in a course—but only with an instructor’s consent). Feel free to contact an EEI faculty member at the campus where you attend for more information or assistance.



        2,000 words or less (approximately eight pages maximum)

        Observe the conventions of Standard American English.

        Entries must be typed, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font.

        Essays must have one-inch margin all around.

        You may use both sides of the page for printing. In addition to submitting a hard copy of the essay,

        applicants must have an electronic version in Microsoft Word;

        finalists will be required to present that electronic version to the judges.


Do not place your name anywhere on the essay or poem except on the application entry form.


A printed copy of the entry must be submitted to one of the faculty members listed on the entry form by 2 pm on Thursday, March 24, 2005.



  • Originality & creativity

  • Quality of written expression

  • Relevant inclusion of South Florida’s bioregion as your theme


Entries will be judged by EEI faculty and administrators.

Decisions of the judges are final; all applicants will be notified in April 2005.

Late submissions will not be considered. Applicants should keep a backup copy of their essay/poem. All submissions will be forwarded to: Colleen Ahern-Hettich, EEI Director, Room 3506-11 Wolfson Campus.


*Betsy Hilbert inspired openness, trust, good friendship, strong scholarship, and joyful leadership during her thirty plus years of service at Miami-Dade Community College.  She was a national leader in the area of environmental literature, and generated opportunities for others to research, write, and dialogue about the importance of the natural world. She believed that our respect for nature was a matter of ethics and relationships.

The Environmental Ethics Institute provides various events and workshops throughout South Florida to explore Earth Literacy and our understanding of concepts of deep time and the emerging Universe Story.  The Institute works to promote a new manner of thinking about our human relationship to Earth’s community of life, particularly as expressed in interdisciplinary curriculum development, faculty formation and increased ecological awareness in education.  Exploration and appreciation of our natural environment and increased awareness of our bioregion* is a part of the mission of the Institute. 

*Bioregion: “A bioregion is a geographical area that is defined by its natural features as opposed to human constructed political boundaries.” Elise Brateen (


For more information, contact:  

Colleen Ahern-Hettich, Director, Earth Ethics Institute, 305-237-3796;

Professor Emily Sendin, Writing Contest Coordinator, 305-237-6172;


 Chandra links pulsar to historic supernova 


Earth Ethics Institute • An Earth Literacy Resource Center Serving MDC Administrators, Faculty, Staff,  and Students, as well as the South Florida Community
Miami Dade College • 300 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Room 3506-11, Miami, FL 33132-2204 • t: 305-237-3796 • f: 305-237-7724