Essays are Due 5:00 pm on October 20th, 2023

West Virginia is the 3rd most forested state in the nation, covering about 78% of the state’s total land area or about 12 million acres. This abundant and renewable natural resource is an important asset to the state’s forest products industry. The forest products industry uses raw materials from the forests, like trees to produce a variety of products that we use and enjoy every day – paper, furniture, lumber, etc. In fact, the forest products industry plays a significant role in
the state’s economy contributing about 19,000 jobs annually.

Unlike other natural resources, trees are renewable and with proper forest management, we can continue to benefit from the many forest products derived from the forest while at same time continue to enjoy the wildlife, clean air and water, and aesthetic beauty provided by our forests. 

In 1960, Congress passed a resolution during the third week of October to “focus attention on the importance of our forests and forest products to the Nation’s economy and welfare.” Since then, each year the current President of the United States has issued a proclamation designating the
week as “Forest Products Week”. 

To celebrate Forest Products Week, the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources at West Virginia University along with its sponsors are hosting a statewide essay contest to promote different forest products companies directly contributing to West Virginia’s forest economy.

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Rules and Guidelines

(Adopted from North Carolina Forestry Association Forest Products Week Essay Contest)

Writing Prompts and Essay Guidelines

Elementary School
350 words or less Explore a tree in your backyard, neighborhood, or on school campus. What signs of wildlife do you see? Is your tree healthy? What species is your tree? Write an informative report detailing your observations.
Middle School (6th-8th) 400 words or less Research an everyday product made from trees
in West Virginia. Describe how it is made, and
how the item has helped you in your daily life.
High School (9th-12th) 500 words or less West Virginia has abundant forest resources that serve as important raw material for a variety of wood products. Conduct research on the role that the state’s forests and wood products are playing in carbon sequestration.

Due Date

Essays will be due on Friday during the National Forest Products Week (LINK). That is, essays must be received by 5:00 pm on October 20th, 2023. Students and teachers of winning essays will be notified by December 15th, 2023. Please look to our website and social media pages for announcements.

Teacher Requirements

For teachers who are using the essay contest as a class assignment, teachers are required to select the top five essays in the class OR up to five essays per class. If teachers lead multiple sections of a course, teachers can send the top five essays per class section. Please do not send a classroom set of essays.

Essay Format

● Typed essays must use Times New Roman size 12 or 14 and saved as word documents.
● Hand-written essays must have legible handwriting with pen/pencil dark enough to appear when the document is scanned.

Submitting Your Essay

● Teachers, advisors or guardians submitting essays on behalf of students will need to complete the information requested in the following link:
● For additional information/questions/comments please contact: or , and include “2023 Forest Products Week Essay Contest” as your subject header.

Judging Criteria

Essays will be graded using a standardized Analytic Rubric . Winning essays will include the following:
● Express the individual’s ideas and thoughts.
● Spelling, grammar and neatness. Essays can be typed.
● Creativity
● Negative and or ‘Doom and Gloom’ scenarios discouraged


Top essays will be selected from the elementary, middle, and high school categories. First, second, and third place will receive a $300, $200 and $100 Visa gift card, respectively. The teacher of the winning essays (per grade level or category) will also receive a $150 Visa gift card. Prizes will be delivered during the month of December.

Big thanks to our 2023 sponsors:

West Virginia Forestry Association (WVFA)  |


Huber Engineered Woods |


Resources for Writing Great Essays