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Peter wins the CATS Trail essay contest!

Our Winners of the CATS Trails essay contest!

My son Peter Hartwell was one of the winners of the Champlain Area Trails first essay contest. From the Valley News:

 An independent field biology study turned out to be especially fruitful for both teacher and student, as the duos joint essay won first prize in the Champlain Area Trails (CATS) Travel Writing Contest.

Every week since January of 2011, Westport ninth-grader Peter Hartwell and mentor David Thomas Train have been exploring the Champlain Area Trails along shoreline, streams, wetlands, and woods near Westport. Those explorations prompted them to enter the Champlain Area Trails Travel Writing Contest.

Hartwell attends the BOCES program in Mineville. To supplement the Mineville curriculum, Hartwell studies several subjects privately, including field biology, with Thomas Train.

“Peter and I spend time together every Wednesday after school in outdoor science explorations, and we wanted to share what we do and see,” Thomas Train explained. “He is an avid outdoors explorer, with great observation and drawing skills.”

Thomas Train is certainly no stranger to the trails of the Champlain Valley: He is the guidebook author for the ADK Guide To The Eastern Region.

“I know the CATS trails well and am excited every time a new one is developed, more open space is protected, and I have a new place to explore,” Thomas Train said.

Their jointly written essay, entitled “Wildlife, Connected In and Out of Town,” earned them the first-place prize of $500.

“CATS introduces people to the richness of the natural world in the Champlain Valley, and David and Peter's essay does the same,” contest judge Phil Brown noted.


And in the same issue of the Valley News, columnist Colin Wells congratulates Peter:

Congratulations to Peter Hartwell and David Thomas Train for winning the $500 grand prize in the recent Champlain Area Trails (CATS) Writing Contest with their essay, "Wildlife, Connected In and Out of Town." Peter, a Westport ninth-grader who attends the BOCES special ed program in Mineville, has been exploring our community's woods, streams, wetlands, and lakeshore over the past year in private biology tutorials with author and teacher Thomas Train. The essay they submitted for the CATS contest reflected that year's worth of wandering, observation, and careful record-keeping.

In the way of disclosure, I also tutor Peter a couple of times a week, in the Greek and Latin origins of common scientific terms. We focus on biology, his main interest, but take in other etymological curiosities as well. He's an outstanding student and a good friend. (Ask him what a lithotrophic halophilic cyanophotolytic isomer is, and he'll be happy to tell you, even though it doesn't exist.)

Congratulations, Peter!