North Carolina’s oldest forest conservation organization

Forest Products Week Essay Contest

Did you know wood is the only natural resource on Earth that is renewable, recyclable and biodegradable?

In North Carolina, the forest products industry plants over 60 million trees each year. Those trees are then turned into more than 5,000 wood and paper products that we use and enjoy each day—everything from baby food and ice cream, to rayon and paint, to toothpaste, cosmetics, medicine and household cleaners.

Unlike fossil fuels, metals and plastics, wood can be harvested, used, regrown and harvested again and again in a never-ending cycle. With proper forest management, we can enjoy thousands of products and still have plenty of trees for wildlife habitat, clean air and water, recreation and aesthetic beauty today and in the future.

In 1960, Congress has passed a resolution during the third week of October to “focus attention on the importance of our forests and forest products to the Nation’s economy and welfare.” Each year since the current President of the United States has issued a proclamation designating the week.

To celebrate Forest Products Week, the North Carolina Forestry Association along with its sponsors are hosting a statewide essay contest to promote the 1,000 companies directly contributing to North Carolina’s forest economy.

Writing Prompts and Essay Length Guidelines

Grade Level

Elementary (3rd-5th)

Essay Length

350 words or less

Writing Prompt

Talk about a time in which your friends or you and your family went out into the forest. What did you see? What did you learn?

Grade Level

Middle (6th-8th)

Essay Length

400 words or less

Writing Prompt

Happy 75th birthday Smokey Bear! We know that only you can prevent wildfires, but explain how a managed fire in the forest can benefit the ecosystem.

Grade Level

High (9th-12th)

Essay Length

500 words or less

Writing Prompt

Research an everyday product that is made from trees in North Carolina. Describe how it is made, and how the item has helped you in your daily life.

Teacher Requirements

Teachers are required to select the top five essays in their class. If teachers lead multiple sections of a course, teachers can send the top five essays per class section. Send essays in one envelope to NCFA.

Due Date

Essays will be due on the last day of National Forest Products Week (October 25, 2019.) Essays must be received or postmarked no later than Friday, October 25, 2019. Students and teachers of winning essays will be notified by December 2, 2019. Winners will be announced on our website and social media pages.

Submitting Your Essay

Essays should have the following contact information form attached:

Essays can be typed or handwritten and must be mailed to NCFA for consideration.

Please use Times New Roman size 12 or 14 font for typed essays.

Mailing Information:

North Carolina Forestry Association
Attn: Amy Juliana
1600 Glenwood Avenue,Suite 1
Raleigh, NC 27608

Judging Criteria

Essays will be graded using a standardized Analytic Rubric.

Winning essays will include the following:

  • Express the individual’s ideas and thoughts.
  • Spelling, grammar and neatness. Essays can be typed.
  • Creativity
  • Negative and or ‘Doom and Gloom’ scenarios discouraged
  • According to the most recent data, North Carolina is home to 18.6 million acres of forestland, which is a dramatic increase in trees since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.


Top essays will be selected from the elementary, middle, and high school categories. All three winners will each receive a $200 Visa gift card. The teacher of the winning essay will also receive $100 Visa gift card for classroom materials and a scholarship to attend the Sustainable Forestry Teachers Experience the next calendar year. Prizes will be delivered during the month of December.

Resources for Writing Great Essays



NC Forest Service Publications


Eco Link Articles

Other Article

Winning Essays

Special thanks to our sponsors; the N.C. Forest Service and the North Carolina Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee.