Kristin Nelson, a ninth-grader at Kaysville Junior High School, has been chosen as first-place winner of the Solitude/Deseret News "Environmental Awareness Essay Contest."

Nelson received a season ski pass at Solitude Ski Resort for her essay on the importance of education in making positive changes in the environment.In addition, students from 13 other schools in the Salt Lake Valley were finalists in the competition, open to seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders. They were:

Whitney Walker, Mount Jordan Middle School; Lori Smedley, Bryant Intermediate School; Matt Beckstrand, Joel P. Jensen Middle School; Danica Nelson, Eastmont Junior High; Teresa Mathews, Bountiful Junior High; Megan Birtcher, Olympus Junior High; Melanie Dinger, West Jordan Middle School; Scott Moser, North Davis Junior High; Shara Finlinson, Syracuse Junior High; Gerald Miles, Sunset Junior High; Cami Cragun, Valley Junior High; Donette White, Glendale Intermediate School; and Ryan McDermott, Millcreek Junior High.

The finalists each received a Solitude day ski pass.

The essays, between 250 and 350 words in length, were judged on clarity, structure, subject knowledge and writing style.