In keeping with our mission to promote Sable Island through education, the Friends of Sable Island Society was pleased to again offer a $1,000 scholarship to a Nova Scotia student.

2016 Scholarship Award

Congratulations to Madeline Biso of Charles P. Allen High School for the poem “Sable Island (Between the Dunes, I Rest)”, written in the first person, shares the Island’s thoughts with the reader. In this engaging and unique perspective and through the use of well-phrased images, she captures the reader’s attention and creates in the reader a powerful emotional response to the vibrant and varied story of Sable Island. From the perky ‘black cap’ of the Roseate Tern to the seals who stare with ‘wide dark eyes’ Madeline Biso takes the reader on a journey to the mythical ‘skeleton island’. The poem and reflective statement are below.

We would also like to give honourable mentions to (in no particular order) John C. Dale and Meghan Fox for their excellent submissions. You made the Selection Committee’s job a difficult one. Their submissions are below.

Thank you to everyone who made a submission.  We hope you learned something new and amazing about Sable Island in the process.

Madeline Biso – “Sable Island (Between the Dunes, I Rest)”

I am graveyard of the Atlantic,
resting place of the ocean.
A skeleton island-
of more shipwrecks than landings.
I feel the destruction of the tides, eating away, tearing away, moulding, reconstructing me.
But I am more than that,
I am home to some
– untamed wildlife:
The Roseate Tern with his black cap,
a striking contrast against his pale feathers.
The Harbour Seal who rests on my shores,
staring with her wide dark eyes.
Herds of the famed horses, with their wind-tangled manes.
Feral animals
that roam this land,
so wild and free they seem to have an aura of myth around them. Step on my white sand
and be transformed into another world, another time-
when things roamed free,
when land ruled itself.
A crescent shaped mystery,
I have known many names overtime:
Fagunda,
Santa Cruz,
Barcelos,
Isola della Rena,
Isle de Sable,
Sable Island.
To some I was possible settlement.
To some I am a piece of tourism, an attraction.
To some I am rich in wildlife and historic knowledge,
research that people seem to crave.
To some I am a place of wonder, of awe,
of the starry-eyed children with active imaginations that conjure up stories;
a place for the historians, the scientists, those who demand to know more.
And to some I must be just another narrow island in an engulfing ocean,
my name means nothing to them- Sable Island.
What am I to you?

Reflective Statement

Sable Island has always been a source of fascination for me. As the classic horsecrazy little girl, the Sable Island horses are what initially sparked my interest. However, as I grew older and did more research about the island, I became even more interested the more I learned- from the tragic history of shipwrecks, to the animals who find a home in this tiny island, to the air of mystery that seems to surround it. I also find it fascinating how humankind tried to tame and settle on the island, yet failed. Though the crescent shaped island is tiny, it is a force to reckon with. It shows that there are some things that even humankind cannot conquer or make its own. This true wildness of the island draws admiration and interest from me. As a writer, Sable Island is a great place for inspiration and imagination. In fact, when I was in Junior High, I wrote a series of fictional books based on Sable Island.

I have applied for this scholarship as I am attending University of King’s College, for a Journalism degree, coming this fall. With three siblings around the same age, and the cost of tuition, this kind scholarship would help a great deal.

With my Journalism degree, I would love to explore more of this world to find mysteries and awe-inspiring nature like Sable Island. The Island lights my curiosity, makes me hungry for more knowledge. I would love to one day write a journalistic piece about Sable Island, perhaps even visiting it. Until then, I’ll continue to dream about the storm-wrecked island in the Atlantic Ocean.

Meghan Fox – “Let me be Free”


Meghan’s well-articulated poetic speech presents a strong case for the island’s continued preservation as she passionately implores the listener to take a stand for the isle where ‘tides collide’ and ‘lazing seals’ make their home.

John C. Dale – “Graveyard of the Atlantic”


John’s piece was the most original of the entries. The music was complemented by a description of the two movements of the selection depicting the sea in both calm and stormy moods.