Youth Writing Festivals

Every year, the Nebraska Writing Project sponsors two day-long writing festivals for students and teachers from across Nebraska. The Eastern Festival is for middle school students in grades 6-8, the Northern Festival is for grades 6-12. The goal of this initiative is to give students an opportunity to hone their writing skills in a collaborative setting and to build a community with fellow student writers.

2021 Youth Writing Festivals

Agate Fossil Beds Writing Festival
Virtual Experience

Grades 5-12

March 15-16, 2021 (asynchronous)

Festival Facilitator:
Ranger Alvis Mar
alvis_mar@nps.gov

RegisterView Flyer

Hills at Agate Fossil Beds

Go on an adventure with The National Park Service and the Nebraska Writing Project! Writers (teachers and students) grades 5-12 are invited to this year’s Agate Fossil Beds Writing Festival, a free digital event designed for writing classes and clubs with the ability to watch videos and participate in digital writing prompts.  All writing prompts can be used in class with the teacher or given digitally to students. 

This year’s event offers four 30 to 40-minute videos, pairing a virtual tour of part of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument with a writing activity led by a Nebraska Writing Project teacher.  Strategies for the development and sharing of student pieces will be included with the prompts along with an invitational opportunity to submit work to the Agate Writing Event.

Writing Sessions

There will be a total of four asynchronous prompts. Each 40-minute prompt will contain interpretation about an aspect of the overland trail system from a National Park Ranger as well as a guided writing activity led by a Nebraska Writing Project Teacher Consultant. Sessions can be done with classroom teacher guidance or set as an asynchronous piece.

Registration Information

Fill out the registration form or email it to Ranger Alvis Mar at alvis_mar@nps.gov. Links to the videos will be sent when registration is complete.

RegisterView Flyer

Agate Fossil Beds: Poetry and Prose in the Parks Event

Grades 5-12

Nebraska students, grades five through twelve, are encouraged to submit an original piece of writing reflective of the history, legacy and place of Agate Fossil Beds to their teacher. Park Rangers and NeWP teacher consultants will read the work and, based on the quality and their representation of Agate Fossil Beds, choose 9 to 12 pieces statewide, to be published on the Nebraska Writing Project Blog. Selected authors will be invited to read their written work at the Poetry and Prose in the Parks event at the Nebraska State Capitol (Scheduled for May 7th* COVID restrictions apply) and work will be celebrated on the NeWP blog.

View Flyer

Teachers

  • Coordinate within your school to select no more than 12 student pieces per school-- four from each of three grade divisions (1-5, 6-8, 9-12)
  • Email selected student poems (labeled with student grade and poem title), cover letter and signed parent permission form to: Alvis_Mar@nps.gov
  • Poetry and Prose in the Parks Permission and Release Form
  • Teachers will be notified via email when all materials are received and when final selections are made (by April 2,2021). Selected poets will be notified via US mail.

Fort Laramie Writing Festival
Digital Experience with the Overland Trails

A collaboration between Fort Laramie National Historic Site & Nebraska Writing Project

Grades 5-12

April 12 - 16, 2021 (asynchronous)

RegisterView Flyer

Barracks at Fort Laramie

Writers (teachers and students) grades 5-12 are invited to this year’s Fort Laramie Writing Festival, a free digital event designed for writing classes and clubs with the ability to watch videos and participate in digital writing prompts.

This year’s event offers four asynchronous activities pairing a virtual tour of part of Fort Laramie National Historic Site with a writing activity led by a Nebraska Writing Project teacher. Each video is 30 to 40-minute and contains an interpretive video from a ranger and a writing prompt. Strategies for the development and sharing of student pieces will be included with the prompts.

Registration Information

Fill out the online registration form e-mail Ranger Clayton Hanson at Clayton_Hanson@nps.gov with the information on the form. Links to the videos will be sent when registration is complete.

Writing Sessions

There will be a total of four asynchronous prompts. Each 40-minute prompt will contain interpretation about an aspect of the overland trail system from a National Park Ranger as well as a guided writing activity led by a Nebraska Writing Project Teacher Consultant. Sessions can be done with classroom teacher guidance or set as an asynchronous piece. Session titles are below.

Session 1: Memories and Marks - Journey with Ranger Clayton Hanson and Brenda Larabee, NeWP TC through the memories of travelers on the trails. Discover how your own memories can become memoirs.

Session 2: “The mail must go on.” – Write and ride along with Ranger Joe Reasoner and Jan Knispel, NeWP TC and discover how high-speed communication was as important in the early 1860s as it is today. Trace the epic journey of the Pony Express and learn how three entrepreneurs and about 120 riders shrunk a nation that was on the brink of civil war.

Session 3: Crossroads - In this session, Ranger Eric Valencia and Diana Weis, NeWP TC present on how place remains with you. They center around the question: How do time and experience give us a perspective of place?

Session 4: Paths of the Mountain Men - In this session, Ranger Chris Mather and Judy Starke, NeWP TC will explore the tales and trade of mountain men on the western frontier.

Get Involved

If you’d like to be involved with the Youth Writing Festivals either by bringing students or presenting, please contact the festival directors.

Eastern Festival Director:
Jennifer Long
jlong@gpsne.org

Northern Festival Director:
Brenda Larabee
blarabee@stuartbroncos.org