Month: October 2014

2015 Essay Contest Announced

Guy and Laura Waterman spent a lifetime reflecting and writing on the Northeast’s mountains. The Waterman Fund seeks to further their legacy of stewardship through essays that celebrate and explore issues of wilderness, wildness, and humans through the Fund’s annual essay contest.

In conjunction with the Museum of the White Mountains’ exhibit on Woman and the Mountains, the 2015 essay contest invites emerging writers to explore the question of who the stewards of wilderness are. Statistically, more men than women explore professional careers in the stewardship of wilderness and public land management. What, if any, bearing does the gender of stewards have on our shared and individual perceptions of, and relationship to, wilderness?

Do you find a difference in how men and women experience and steward wilderness, personally or professionally? Alternately, does the spirit of wilderness transcend anything so human as gender? Is there a relationship between gender, wilderness exploration, and the management of these invaluable public lands?

Emerging writers are encouraged to explore the interplay between men, women, and wilderness, with particular regard to how this shapes our individual and cultural perceptions and stewardship of wild places.

The deadline for submissions is April 15th, 2015. We will announce the winners at the end of June. The winning essayist will be awarded $1500 and published in Appalachia Journal. The Honorable Mention essay will receive $500. Both essays will be published on our website as well. Submissions should include contact information and a few lines about why the writers feel their essay is appropriate for the contest. Online submissions are appreciated, but not required. If submitting online, double-spaced manuscripts in a 12-point font, Word doc compatible file, are preferred. If submitting by mail, please include a SAS postcard or an email address. The receipt of all submissions will be acknowledged.

The Waterman Fund’s objective is to strengthen the human stewardship of the open summits, exposed ridgelines and alpine areas of the Northeast. We welcome personal, scientific, adventure, or memoir essays; fiction, poetry or songs are not eligible for this contest. More information about the Waterman Fund and on the essay contest is available at, Facebook, and via

Waterman Fund awards winners in 2014 essay contest

The Waterman Fund is delighted to announce the winners of its sixth annual Alpine Essay Contest. The Fund received over thirty entries this year and through much thoughtful reading and fruitful discussion, the Fund’s reading committee selected Jenny Wagner’s essay, “The Cage Canyon,” as this year’s winner. Nancy Rich’s essay “Walking with Our Faces to the Sun” was selected as the runner up.

The contest theme for 2014 asked writers to explore the value of Wilderness, fifty years after the Wilderness Act. Submissions ran a wide gamut of responses, all reiterating the sentiment that wilderness, Wilderness, and wildness have a firm place in our lives and hearts. In his 1960 “Wilderness Letter” writer and conservationist Wallace Stegner warned that something priceless would go out of us as a people if we did not take action to protect wild places. The essay submissions reassure all readers that this essential wildness has not only remained, but grown stronger and more diverse in its articulations.

Wagner, of Boulder, CO and (currently) Senegal, works in experiential education. Her essay is an exploration of wildness through her experience working at Mission: Wolf, a wolf sanctuary in southern Colorado. The Fund selected Wagner’s essay for her abilities to weave an engaging personal narrative into the larger story of wolves—a cultural touchstone for wildness—and wilderness preservation and protection. Her essay asks, rather than answers, questions about the place of humans in among wilder beings and wilderness. In recognition of Wagner’s voice and talents, the Fund is pleased to award her a $1,500 prize to further her writing and explorations. Rich, of Chesterfield, MA, uses her PhD in Environmental Studies for environmental advocacy in the Berkshires. Her essays focuses on the many questions and few answers about wilderness, wildness, and place she has encountered in her winter fieldwork in the Berkshires. The Fund was drawn to her essay for Rich’s evocative imagery and her rather more personal reflections on ideas of wilderness—the hills of western Massachusetts are not a Wilderness, yet Rich finds a beautiful amount of wilderness to share with readers. Rich will be awarded $500 for her essay.

Wagner’s essay will be published in the Winter/Spring 2015 issue of Appalachia, the Appalachian Mountain Club’s biannual journal of mountaineering and conservation. Both pieces will appear excerpted in the November issue of The Alpine Steward, the Fund’s newsletter, as well as online in December.

Guy and Laura Waterman spent a lifetime reflecting and writing on the Northeast’s mountains. The Waterman Fund seeks to further their legacy through selecting essays and stories that celebrate the wild spirit of these places. The Waterman Fund Alpine Essay Contest, in partnership with Appalachia, seeks pieces by new and emerging writers exploring the relationship between the human spirit and the environment of and beyond these northeastern mountains.

The theme for the 2015 Alpine Essay Contest will be posted shortly; please contact Bethany Taylor at with any further questions or comments.