New York, NY (August 15, 2019)— The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce the Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize, which will honor exceptional poems that help make real for readers the gravity of the vulnerable state of our environment at present. 

“We’re grateful to have the opportunity to address the climate crisis through poetry and hope the poets’ poems we’ll publish might inspire people to learn more about the issue and how they can help,” said Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets. 

The charitable poetry organization has partnered with Treehouse Investments, a social impact firm, which is funding the prize.  

“The science of climate change is unequivocal; its negative social and financial consequences are clear; the technological solutions to reverse it exist. And yet we as a society are clearly failing to deal with the issue at sufficient scale and speed. So why address climate change with poems? Because a good poem can remind us of everything we share, and everything we put at risk. Because poems are the backbone of our culture and this, more than anything else, is what needs to change,” said Dominique Slavin, managing director of Treehouse Investments. 

Three poets will be honored. First place will receive $1,000; second place, $750; and third place, $500. In addition, all three poems will be published in the popular Poem-a-Day series, which is distributed to 500,000 readers. Poems may also be featured in the award-winning education series Teach This Poem, which serves 33,000 educators each week. 

Submissions will be accepted online from September 1 through November 1, 2019. The winning poets will be announced on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, which is Earth Day.

The judges for the 2019 Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize are environmentalist Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature (Random House, 1989), and award-winning poet and author Julia Alvarez

For more information about the prize, including the full guidelines, visit

About Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben’s book The End of Nature (Random House, 1989) is regarded as the first book about climate change for a general audience and has been translated into twenty-four languages. McKibben has since written a dozen more books and is a co-founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement that has organized twenty thousand rallies around the world and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement. He is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has won the Gandhi Prize, the Thomas Merton Prize, and the Right Livelihood Prize. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers. A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes frequently for a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of Books, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone

About Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez is an award-winning poet, essayist, and novelist. She is the author of more than fifteen books, including How The García Girls Lost Their Accents (Algonquin Books, 1991) and In the Time of the Butterflies (Algonquin Books, 1994), which has been translated into ten languages and was made into a movie produced by and starring Salma Hayek. Alvarez’s poetry collections include The Woman I Kept to Myself (Algonquin Books, 2004) and Homecoming: New and Collected Poems (New York: Plume, 1996). Her books of prose for children include The Secret Footprints (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2000) and Tía Lola Came to (Visit) Stay (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2001), as well as a novel for young adults, Before We Were Free (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2002). In 2013 she received the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the United States government.  

About the Academy of American Poets

The Academy of American Poets is our nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with members in all fifty states. Founded in 1934, the organization produces, the world’s largest publicly-funded website for poets and poetry; National Poetry Month; the popular Poem-a-Day series; American Poets magazine; Teach This Poem and other award-winning resources for K-12 educators; an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and awards more funds to poets than any other organization. It also coordinates and supports the work of a national Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than twenty poetry organizations working to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.

About Treehouse Investments

Treehouse Investments is a boutique distributed-infrastructure firm dedicated to reversing climate change. A family business, founded by a family from Puerto Rico, in 2007 Treehouse made a commitment to invest in a socially responsible way. Over the years Treehouse has become convinced that the only truly socially responsible investments are those which directly aim to reverse climate change.