WNPA Announces Student Essay Contest Winners at Tucson Festival of Books

Tucson, Arizona, March 7, 2019—Western National Parks Association (WNPA), a nonprofit education partner of the National Park Service (NPS) since 1938, announced the winners of a student essay competition in a special presentation on March 3 in The National Park Experience Pavilion at the Tucson Festival of Books. With support from competition cosponsor Metropolitan Education Commission (MEC), southern Arizona students in grades 9 through 12 were invited to help give a voice to WNPA’s mission by composing a compelling essay on the effects of climate change on our national parks. The three winning students are


1st place – Portia Cooper, Sequoia Choice–Arizona Distance Learning     Read Portia’s essay

2nd place – Autumn Fatovich, Sahuaro High School     Read Autumn’s essay

3rd place – Katlyn Bable, Mountain View High School     Read Katlyn’s essay


Nathaniel Brodie, WNPA-featured author at the Tucson Festival of Books and author of Steel on Stone: Living and Working in the Grand Canyon, presented the awards. The winning students read their essays to the crowd and received cash prizes. Topics students explored in their essays included ways they and others can help combat climate change in their everyday lives, what the NPS is already doing to address the effects of climate change on national parks, why our national parks matter, and why people should protect them.

“We were very impressed by the knowledge and passion the students displayed in their essays,” said James E. Cook, chief executive officer of WNPA. “We thank all those who participated for their outstanding work, and for their early commitment to preserving our national parks.”

About Western National Parks Association
WNPA helps make the national park experience possible for everyone. As a nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, WNPA supports parks across the West, developing products, services, and programs that enrich the visitor experience, understanding, and appreciation of national parks. Since 1938 WNPA has worked to connect new generations to parks in meaningful ways, all with one simple goal: create advocates who want to preserve and protect these special places for everyone, for all time. Learn more at www.wnpa.org.

About Metropolitan Education Commission
Composed of 34 members, the Metropolitan Education Commission facilitates partnership and collaboration among education, business, service, and government agencies to promote education, advocate issues affecting education in Pima County, and empower K–12 students, teachers, and families. Learn more at www.tucsonaz.gov.



From L to R: Nathaniel Brodie, author of Steel on Stone: Living and Working in the Grand Canyon; 1st place winner, Portia Cooper; 2nd place winner, Autumn Fatovich; third place winner, Katlyn Bable, and WNPA chief executive officer, James E. Cook.