Florida 4-H Nature Poetry Contest

Poems are reflections of things we care about. Poetry is an opportunity to share what you observe, wonder about, or laugh over! Poems can be creative and clever. They can link together ideas in new ways. We can learn from poems, too.

Up to 20 poems (from poets of any age) may be submitted by the UF 4-H agent in each county. The FAMU coordinator may submit an additional 20 poems for FAMU 4-H’ers in each county. Each poem must be submitted on the submission form by March 1.

How to participate in the contest

To enter the poetry contest, download the contest entry form (PDF) and fill it out either by hand or in Acrobat Reader. The printed form will need to be returned by mail to the address given in the instructions. There is a limit of one entry per person. Entries will be accepted in three age categories. All entries must be postmarked by March 1.


What makes a good poem?

Good poems have one or more of the following characteristics:

  1. The subject of the poem is clear, easy to understand, and focused.
  2. The choice of words create power, convey an image, share a passion, breathe life, or share an experience with the reader. They come alive!
  3. Some poems have a standard rhythm or pattern. Some poems count syllables, as in a haiku. Some poems, like limericks, have a meter or beat.
  4. Some poems rhyme, and some “almost” rhyme. Words that have the same ending sound, like cat/bat/that are real rhymes. Words that almost rhyme (called assonance) might sound like a rhyme but aren’t, like branches/fences or leaves/breathes.
  5. The beginning of words can also become a pattern, such as words that start with the same letter or sound:  fancy footwork of falling foliage.
  6. Good poems often use metaphors, similes, and analogies to convey ideas. A metaphor defines something as a comparison: You are a breath of fresh air. A simile uses the words ‘like’ or ‘as’ to compare two things: Her eyes sparkled like diamonds when she found her favorite tree. An analogy defines a complex idea in simple, easy to translate, concrete terms: A sandhill crane – from wingtip to wingtip, is wider than I am tall.
  7. Good poems are grammatically and scientifically correct. Words are spelled correctly; animal and plant names are hyphenated properly. Prior to reprinting a winning poem, staff will request permission to make minor corrections if needed. If the author does not provide permission, the poem will not be posted on our website.

Congratulations to the 2020 Poetry Contest Winners!

Check out winning poems from previous years!

Year Age Category
2020 Junior Intermediate Senior
2019 Junior Intermediate Senior