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Make Money Writing: Spirit of the Water Contest

Updated: Feb 20

Do you like getting money? Consider entering the Spirit of the Water Essay Contest

The Spirit of the Water Essay Contest was established and is funded through a generous gift from Betty and Dennis Keeney, formerly of Ames, Iowa, and now living in Madison, Wisconsin. Dennis was the first director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and former director of the Iowa Water Center (IWC).


In 2016, the Iowa Water Center hosted the first Spirit of the Water Essay Contest for high school students across the state of Iowa. Since then, the essay contest has been hosted by IWC on an annual basis. The Spirit of the Water Essay Contest’s purpose is to inspire Iowa youth to explore, reflect, and communicate the importance of water in our lives and communities. Top prize is $500 cash! Here's an example by Madeline Sierk; go make some money, Madeline!:



"Unwavering Peace: The Spirt of the Water" by Madeline Sierk


Standing here. Taking in the world around me, I hear a stream. A simple song that is flowing, changing, connecting us all. Mother Earth is seventy one percent water. It’s impossible to miss her. 


She’s in the crystal tides rising, water growing higher and higher. The moon pulls onto her as surfers ride the waves and crash below the surface only to stand up once again. The streams flowing and the fish beneath, swimming and leaping from the glistening waters. Connecting us all…since after all, the human body is 60% water.. Providing us with the strength to go on, quenching our thirsts.


The clouds circling the sky, protecting us from the harsh rays of the sun. The rain falling from the sky is the same that your eyes shed in grief or mourning. Tears falling from our eyes, but never for her. Never for the sacrifices she makes. Spitting out what we think, only to pollute her seas with our black oil secrets spilling into her. We pollute her with our actions, using her as a washing machine to wash away what we don’t want. Yet water, yes she flows on. 


When I think of peace in my 17 years of life, she is always there. Wrapping me in an embrace of salt air and water filling my lungs. The beach is a favorite place of many, because of her. Because of the sense of enchantment that comes with it. There is a thrill about her too, we still barely know what lies beneath her surfaces. The spirit of water is truly summed up the best as constantly giving. Hasn’t she given enough? 


This give and take relationship remains, instilled in our society. We continue to find peace in her beauty while all the water feels is emptiness. 




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