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Bats, horses, bees are subjects for local students entering national competition

COLUMBUS — They are learning how to talk to strangers, how to engage a reader and how to organize and plan their work.

Jeanne Ferran’s eighth-grade English language arts students are entering a national competition to speak out for the environment.

“We [Polk Middle School] have had a few students win the national competition and one win the international in years past,” Ferran said. “They write an unbiased article or produce a documentary film about a local environmental issue.”

The competition is through the National Wildlife Federation Young Reporters for the Environment program. It is open to students ages 11-19 in over 30 countries around the world.

Students in Jeanne Ferran’s eighth-grade English language arts class at Polk Middle School are working on a national competition to investigate and report issues concerning the local environment. (Photo by Catherine Hunter)

The students investigate environmental issues and propose solutions through creative writing, photography and videography.

Ferran’s students chose subjects such as the threat to honey bees, sustainable forestry, white nose disease in bats, deer poaching, how the Tryon International Equestrian Center is affecting the environment and horse abuse and slaughter.

“The project gives the students a real-life experience as an investigative reporter,” Ferran said. “It allows them to take a stand for themselves and others.”

Polk Middle School student Henry Gardner said he learned how to talk to random strangers. Classmate Jesse James said he learned about writing out a plan for his documentary.

“I learned about how much imagery I need to use, and how to stay in touch with the reader when writing an article,” said another student, Covle Cameron.