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Three UW Entities Partner for ‘Water in Wyoming’ Writing Contest

January 9, 2014
Water cascades over rocks at the Popo Agie Falls near Lander. (UW Photo)

In Wyoming, water plays a key role in politics, community relationships, agriculture, natural resources debates and more. Three University of Wyoming entities have teamed up to give UW and Wyoming community college students a voice to further examine the state’s valuable resource.

The Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG), the UW MFA in Creative Writing program and Wyoming Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) have partnered to sponsor a writing contest on the theme of “Water in Wyoming.”

Any UW or Wyoming community college student may submit a non-fiction essay. In the undergraduate category, essays must be 500-2,000 words. Graduate student essays must be 1,000-5,000 words.

The contest will award $500 prizes to undergraduate and graduate student winners; provide publication in an anthology for winning and honorable mention essays; and organize a public reading of selected essays. The contest is part of WyCEHG’s Communicating About Water program.

“Part of the rationale for creating WyCEHG was that water is a topic that touches virtually every aspect of life in Wyoming -- from wildlife to agriculture to energy development,” says Steve Holbrook, a UW professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and co-director of WyCEHG. “This writing contest is one way for WyCEHG to help foster a broadened discussion of the role that water plays in the lives of Wyomingites. We're collaborating with UW's excellent MFA in Creative Writing program, which will bring new perspectives on water from students who may be outside of our usual water-science circles.” 

“The contest is intended to bring together other disciplines on campus to discuss and become interested in state water issues,” says Liz Nysson, education, outreach and diversity coordinator for Wyoming EPSCoR.

Nysson adds she hopes to receive submissions from students interested in creative writing, communications and journalism, environmental and natural resources, and/or hydrology.

Possible writing topics include, but are not limited to, identifying a water problem that faces Wyoming and exploring the history of that problem; creating a character sketch on a person in Wyoming who works on water-related issues; identifying one research topic underway by a UW researcher and interviewing that person about his or her research and discoveries; exploring issues related to one particular watershed; discussing how water has altered perceptions about various industries in Wyoming; discussing students’ own experiences with water in the state; and exploring the beauty of Wyoming’s rivers, lakes and weather.

“I expect that the essays submitted to this contest will help all of us see water in a new light, and bring new appreciation to the importance of water in all of our lives, and the fragility of this resource in a changing West,” Holbrook says.

The entry deadline is Friday, March 21. Send submissions to

For more information or questions, email Nysson at

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