About Place

About Place

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About Place is an annual project coordinated by the Environmental Task Force of Niagara County Community College designed to recognize the literary skills of high school writers and to promote a better understanding of the importance of preserving and protecting our natural environment. The ETF and its partners encourage area high schools to participate in this project.

Read The Buffalo News articles regarding About Place:


Regional Prizes: High School

First prize, essay - $200*
First prize, poem - $200*
Two (2) Honorable Mention Prizes - $100
*The top four prizes are funded through a grant from the Buffalo Audubon Society

Regional Prizes: NCCC

First prize, essay - $150*
First prize, poem - $150*
Two (2) Honorable Mention Prizes - 1 year membership to the Buffalo Audubon Society.

Local Prizes

Each high school and NCCC winner will receive a certificate and a one-year membership in the Buffalo Audubon Society.

Published Anthology

The Regional Judging Committee will select essays for inclusion in an anthology to be published in April. The author of each essay and poem selected for publication will receive a copy of the About Place anthology. Additionally, each participating school will receive a copy for its library.

Author Reception/book-signing

In April, the authors selected for publication will be honored at a reception to be held at Niagara County Community College where they will have an opportunity to read a selection from their essay or poem and to participate in a book-signing.


  • Writers must be high school juniors or seniors, or currently enrolled students at NCCC.
  • The genres of writing are the essay and the poem; do not submit fiction
  • Essay submissions should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words and will observe the rules of formal written English. Poetry submissions should be less than 100 lines and should pay close attention to imagery.
  • All submissions must be the original work of the writer and address a specific aspect of the general topic, "About Place."

Contest Procedures

The contest will be conducted in two phases:

Local Phase (October - December)

  • One teacher should be designated to coordinate the contest and may designate a small group of teachers to serve as judges.
  • The local judges will select the three best essays and three best poems from their school, which will be forwarded to NCCC's Environmental Task Force. The ETF will provide certificates to each of the three students whose papers are forwarded.
  • For the NCCC division, a call for submissions will go out in October.

Regional Phase (January - April)

  • The Environmental Task Force will receive the submissions from each participating school. The submissions will be coded by the ETF and submitted to the Judging Committee with neither the author's name nor school identified.
  • The Judging Committee will select the four prize-winning submissions from each division.
  • An authors' tea and book signing will be held at Niagara County Community College in April 2012 to recognize the writers who have either won prizes or otherwise had their submissions selected for publication.

Submission Format

All submissions should be submitted on paper AND electronically as an e-mail attachment.

  1. Paper: Essays will be double-spaced, poetry single-spaced, and both must be submitted with a submission/release form (also available from the coordinating teachers), AND
  2. As an E-mail attachment: all submissions must ALSO be submitted as an e-mail attachment, preferably in a format that is compatible with Microsoft Word to: Marc Pietrzykowski, Project Coordinator at mpietrzykowski@niagaracc.suny.edu

No more than four submissions may be submitted from each school. Hard copies of the submissions, along with signed release forms, should be mailed to:

About Place Nature Writing Contest
Environmental Task Force
c/o Humanities and Social Sciences Division
Niagara County Community College
Sanborn, N.Y. 14132

Deadline for submission of essays to the Environmental Task Force is: January 27, 2017


For additional information contact the project coordinator:

Marc Pietrzykowski
c/o Humanities and Social Sciences Division
Niagara County Community College
Sanborn, N.Y. 14132
Phone: 716-614-6807
Email: mpietrzykowski@niagaracc.suny.edu