Student writers express love for our Valley

“This year’s Writing about Place entries depicted a wide range of treasures from forests and ponds to the manicured landscapes of local mansions,” said Scott Keller, acting director of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.

Shaivi Patel, Riccardi ES, submitted this drawing with her poem.

“The students’ poems and essays remind us of the many places in our region that can provide us with comfort, inspiration, and a sense of community,” Keller concluded.

Students who entered THV’s writing contest delighted readers, including teachers and others, with descriptions of – and feelings about – significant places in our area. In the coming months we look forward to sharing poems and essays submitted last fall.

This year’s results are a bit unusual in that the winners in each category are all from the same school. Below, we introduce them as a group rather than designating first, second, and third place. Teachers and students at each school will choose which of the winning places they will visit with expenses paid underwritten THV.


Paradise in the Hills by Sydney Corwin is a dreamy evocation of the landscapes at Vanderbilt National Historic Site in Hyde Park. Najiyah Williamson’s A Plum of a Place introduces Kowawese Unique Area at Plum Point, an Orange County park. Luke Ramjug dares the reader to keep up as he climbs Mount Beacon in Let Me Take You to a Mountain. Read Luke’s essay here and watch for the others coming soon.





In Sweet Wine Berries India Braine reflects on how Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site seems to change depending on the season and her age. Read the essay here.

Emma Byrne paints a picture of 1,400-year old trees in Black Rock, the 3,870-acre forest and biological field station maintained by the Black Rock Forest Consortium.

Bull Pond by Narelle Nailor finds the writer “sitting on a rock” thinking she’s “the luckiest person in the world”. Bull Pond Recreation Area is a community center at West Point.

All three writers are fifth graders at Cornwall Central Middle School, Orange County, and students of Patricia Young.

Emma, Narelle, and India, Cornwall MS, grade 5


Bull Pond

By Narelle Nailor

Clear summer day
fluttering butterfly
small breeze
sitting on a rock
watching the butterfly
clear bright blue sky
ripples in the big oval pond
calm summer breeze
hopped off the rock
landed on a fluffy green patch of grass
little damp but I did not mind
walked to the beach
light brown wooden cabin
walked slowly in the water
floating in the clear water
I thought, I am the luckiest person in the world


Second graders Lauren, Anthony, and Ava


Second graders at Riccardi Elementary School in Saugerties, Ulster County, submitted acrostic or initial poems where the first letter in each line spells out the subject. Top scores went to:

Cantine Fun Time by Lauren Quirk

Kelder Farm Fun by Ava DiCicco

Glasco Mini Park by Anthony Bertorelli

Cantine Field and Glasco Mini Park are managed by the Saugerties Village Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Kelder’s is a 200-year-old family farm in Kerhonkson. The young poets are students of Frances Murphy. Read all three poems here.