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Freshman Wins a Special Prize for Outdoor Activities' Essay

Michael Nixon is a 15 -year-old Wash High freshman who enjoys the outdoors and outdoor activities like fishing and hunting. However, living in the city, he isn’t able to enjoy those outdoor activities like he does when visiting some cousins and friends that live in more rural areas of the county.  But, the Washington freshman didn’t let that stop him from entering an essay contest from the George H. Block Conservation Scholarship Committee regarding his interest in conservation. Nixon was not chosen as  the essay winner, but the nonprofit committee offered him a unique prize for his efforts. 

The George H. Block scholarship was set up by family and friends of the long-time Outdoor writer for the Observer-Reporter who encouraged youth to get involved in conservation efforts in Washington and Greene Counties. Members of the committee have selected local youth essay winners since 2017, but this is the first essay from a “city kid” who enjoys the outdoors. They decided to encourage his efforts by awarding him and his father a complimentary year’s membership to the Ellsworth Sportsmen and Gun Club.  

In his essay, Nixon explained that he understands that “Hunting them (deer) keeps numbers in check and I think this is conservation. I also know that coyotes eat smaller animals and are not native to this area so I go coyote hunting.” When he was 10 yrs. old, Nixon took the safe hunter course to learn how to handle hunting rifles. On a camping trip with his Dad, he also learned about taking care of campsites for safety and how to find good fishing spots. His father taught him about looking for fishing areas in clean and healthy streams. But, one of the more valuable lessons he learned on that trip, was how to survive a two-week camping trip at a lake without a cellphone! 

His teacher, Jessica Gardner, helped Michael by reviewing his essay and recommending some edits, but she said, “Michael’s enthusiastic essay helped him win the membership in the sportsmen’s club. I’m sure he and his dad will use the complimentary membership as much as possible to be in the outdoors – fishing, hunting, and learning about conservation.”