Governor Kate Brown held an essay contest asking 4th grade students to write letters about what they love about Oregon’s outdoors. Governor Brown selected one letter from statewide submissions to receive a once-in-a-lifetime all-expenses paid trip for the winner and one guardian to travel to Washington, D.C. to take part in the tree-lighting ceremony and attend festivities surrounding the tree lighting taking place throughout the capitol.

Thank you to the more than 1,200 students who entered and congratulations to our winner, Brigette Harrington from Hillsboro, Oregon. Enjoy reading what she loves about the outdoors!

 ‘Twas the month before Christmas, and all through my mind,

Swirled thoughts of my Oregon, all intertwined;

The four seasons how extraordinary, each one of a kind,

Left memories galore for my mind to rewind.

The winter how beautiful, the snow began to fall,

I quickly grabbed my mittens to make a chilly snowball.

The snowman we created, sat proudly in my yard,

He stayed there ‘till he melted, a snowy frosty guard.

The raindrops how they pattered, the wind gusts how they blew,

In Oregon this is common, it makes us special through and through;

So don’t be disappointed, for rain can bring such joy,

The puddles are for jumpin’, they’re better than a toy!

In thinking of the springtime, birds began to chime,

The tulips and the daffodils, made for a colorful time.

It was time to plant my garden, the seeds went in the ground,

I watched each day as plants popped up, and roots became earthbound.

The roses oh so pretty, a painting of delight,

The picture of a rainbow, magical and bright.

A visit to the Oregon coast, is sure to bring a smile,

Watching waves and seagulls fly up high, my sandcastle took a while.

Flying kites their tails a’soarin’, a fun sight to behold,

Especially nice upon the sand, with the ocean foamy and cold.

Hiking in the green lush forests, tall evergreens abound,

Watching wildlife, deer, and elk appear, animals all around.

Onto summer sunny days, the earth was in its glory,

Picking berries, apples, peaches and more, so sweet, like a fairytale story.

Kayaking on our rivers was great, it really was a thrill,

Paddling to and fro with dad, water rippling, peaceful and yet still.

Time for fall, it was really here, brilliant trees ablaze,

Leaves soon fell down one by one, my eyes just loved to gaze.

Finally into the pumpkin patch, oh which one should I choose,

A tall, a round, a skinny one, once carved it would amuse.

It’s time to cut our Christmas tree, we’ve got to find the right one,

Can’t wait to get it home inside, all decorated and done!

So as I close my eyes for sleep, my heart holds memories dear,

Thinking of my home, our state, my Oregon, how glad I’m here.

- Written by 4th grader Brigette Harrington from Hillsboro, Oregon