Montana State University

Gallatin Writers sponsor environmental essay contest for MSU students

February 5, 2014

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Montana State University students may enter essays with innovative ideas about the environment in a contest that could garner them a grand prize of $500 and other prizes that include annual passes to American national parks.

Gallatin Writers, in cooperation with MSU and the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment are sponsoring the essay competition, which has a submission deadline of May 1.

The Gallatin Writers' website said the goal of the contest is "to provoke innovative thinking among MSU students who value the often elusive conjunction between ecology, responsible liberty, and modest prosperity."  

Students may submit essays in three categories:

  • Innovative institutions and organizations for protecting Yellowstone and other American wildlands;
  • Threats to America's wild and scenic lands posed by growing federal and state entitlements.  How can the values of parks and wild lands be perpetuated as budgetary pressures increase?  And
  • Lessons from the American Prairie Reserve ( Complexity, Coordination and Conservation.  What can we learn from this Montana experiment in environmental entrepreneurship?

The papers will be judged on "presentation of clear and provocative ideas that are more than mere opinion pieces. Papers should incorporate the values that make Yellowstone and other areas of American wilderness alluring. The papers should be well-researched, footnoted, and be “A” quality papers. In addition to the paper, contestants should include a 600-700-word op-ed that discusses the contestant's research and conclusions.

The winning essay from each topic field will receive two annual passes to all American National Parks for the 2014 season, a one night stay at the Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park, and dinner for two at the Old Faithful Inn Dining Room.

The winners from each topic will be entered to win the grand prize. The grand prize winner will be awarded a $500 check and the publication of their op-ed piece.

Entries must be submitted to by May 1. The entry form and more information and requirements may be found at

More information may also be obtained by contacting Jerry Johnson in the MSU Department of Political Science


Jerry Johnson,, 994-5164