This September, when Rowland Hall’s fourth graders took a field trip to Ensign Peak, located in the foothills near downtown Salt Lake City, student Sophie L. wasn’t expecting to be inspired by the experience.
But as Sophie looked across the Salt Lake Valley—the Wasatch Mountains standing rugged to the east, the city unfolding below, the Great Salt Lake glittering in the west—she wanted to somehow capture the view before her. The students were given time at the peak to write and draw, so Sophie began to weave together lines about the landscape. Though she’d never written a poem before, she had expressed herself in a similar way through songwriting. “I like the way rhymes sound,” she explained.
As Sophie worked, she found herself especially inspired by the Great Salt Lake, which features prominently in the fourth grade’s Utah studies this year, and she wanted her poem to call attention to the urgent need to save the lake. Once the poem was completed, Sophie decided to share it with her writing tutor, who asked permission to show the piece to a neighbor who is a member of FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake, a local organization with a mission to “preserve and protect the Great Salt Lake ecosystem and to increase public awareness and appreciation of the Lake through education, research, advocacy, and the arts.” After reading the poem, the member asked for Sophie’s permission to publish it in an upcoming FRIENDS newsletter, which she granted. Her poem recently appeared in the organization’s fall/winter 2022 newsletter.
"Sophie's perspective is integral to our mission to preserve and protect the Great Salt Lake ecosystem," said Holly Simonsen, membership and programs director of FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake, who said Sophie's words will be read by more than 700 subscribers, in addition to those who receive the newsletter during outreach events or access it online. "We need as many voices as possible to join our chorus of concern. Sophie has given us an incredible gift; her words will certainly help educate and inspire others."
Sophie's poem beautifully provides a glimpse of life in the Salt Lake Valley, and reminds readers of the importance of protecting Great Salt Lake for generations to come.
When asked for her reaction to her poem being published in the newsletter, Sophie said, “I felt really good. I like writing, but I don’t really share my writing with other people.”
We’re thrilled she did, though, as the poem, written through Sophie’s unique perspective, beautifully provides a glimpse of life in the Salt Lake Valley, and reminds readers of the importance of protecting Great Salt Lake for generations to come.
“It’s this really nice place, and we still want to have this place to look at,” said Sophie.
With Sophie’s permission, we’re proud to share her poem, “Our Great Salt Lake,” with the Rowland Hall community.
Our Great Salt Lake
By Sophie L., Age 9
I love this place, our Great Salt Lake
The mountains they moan, they quake
They seem as if they are watching us
When in the car or on the bus
Each year weather changes form
From snowy, medium to warm
And every morning when I wake
I see this place, our Great Salt Lake
The wind brushes against my face
And then it leaves without a trace
It is a thing I cannot break
This is my home, my Great Salt Lake
Save our lake!