Exhibitions

Educational institutions and nonprofits may rent high-quality laminated color reproductions of art from our collection. They are lightweight, easy to display, and inexpensive to ship. We charge a negotiable, nominal rental fee. Contact The Center for Enviromental Literacy at 925-631-4289 or pm7@stmarys-ca.edu for more details.

Museums, galleries, and other venues that can guarantee round-the-clock security may rent original art. Fees are negotiable.

We also offer special themed exhibits, including:

  • Birds! Birds! Birds! from River of Words
  • In Praise of Water: Images and Poetry from the River of Words Collection
  • Children of Chernobyl
  • Frogs and Amphibians
  • The World in their Hands: Earth Images from River of Words
  • Lost Horizons: The Art and Poetry of Gulf Coast Children
  • As Above, So Below: Reflection in the Art and Poetry of Children
  • Art in Exile: The Extraordinary Art of Afghan Refugee Children

Workshops

In addition to serving educators, we also lead workshops for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. All of our workshops provide ideas and models for integrating nature exploration and the arts into core subject areas, including science, math, social studies, and language arts.

Educator workshops: We offer two-day, one-day, or half-day workshops as well as shorter introductory presentations. The cost is $1,000 per day plus travel expenses. Workshops may be held at your site or at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California

Student workshops: Our workshops can be tailored to fit into a single classroom period, several periods, a full day (for older students), or a semester. They may be held in your classroom or in an off-campus site, or outdoors.

Topics include journal making; anxiety-free poetry writing; "sightless" drawing; kite flying (to learn about flight, weather, and atmosphere); and information about the local watershed and bioregion. Students also learn how to hone their observation skills; educators learn about classroom resources, new ways to engage hard-to-reach learners, and other invaluable tips.

Presentations: In addition to our workshops, we offer introductory presentations about River of Words.

To schedule a workshop or a presentation, please contact the Center at 925-631-4289 or email Director, Pamela Michael at pm7@stmarys-ca.edu

What We Do

Our curriculum, youth poetry and art publications, and recognition opportunities for young people nurture creativity and critical thinking.

Our multidisciplinary, place-based curricula — Watershed Explorer and One Square Block — improve literacy, enhance investigation and critical thinking, and nurture creativity.

Our free, annual, international youth poetry and art contest — the largest in the world — inspires children ages 5 to 19 to translate their observations into creative expression. Other River of Words successes include training workshops, traveling exhibits, community partnerships, creek clean-ups and restorations, and two Girl Scouts patches — the Watershed and Waterdrop, developed in conjunction with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Youth Inspiring Youth

Wit & Fright (2009 music, 2001 poem)
Composed by Ryan Harper, poem by River of Words winner Eric Pierson, age 10

Partnerships

The Center for Environmental Literacy and its premier program, River of Words, could not work effectively without help and inspiration from other institutions, businesses and organizations.

Among our many collaborators are:

  • The Center for Environmental Literacy's newest partnership is with Saint Mary's MFA Program in Creative Writing. MFA grad students are working with us to process and evaluate the thousands of entries to our Youth Poetry and Art contest, publish the annual anthology, and plan the annual ROW Ceremonies.

2012 MFA Graduates Andrew Taw and Casey McAlduff review entries with Robert Hass

 

  • Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, which features an exhibit of our winning and finalist artwork each year! Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose also hosts art and nature journaling workshops with River of Words co-found and the Director of the Center for Enviornmental Literacy, Pamela Michael, and River of Words art judge and renowned nature journaling expert, John Muir Laws
 

Support Education for Sustainbility

You can help students and their teachers develop an informed and heartfelt connection to the earth with a gift to The Center for Environmental Literacy and River of Words.

Ways to donate:

1) You can send your gift to our office:

Please make gifts out to CEL or ROW at Saint Mary's College. 

Mail to:
Pamela Michael, Director
Center for Environmental Literacy
Saint Mary's College of California
P.O. Box 4300
Moraga, CA  94575-4300

Please feel free to also direct your gift in the memo line or with a letter.

2) You also can donate by using the online Giving Form.

Please follow these steps to donate online via our online Giving Form:

  1. Click on Giving Form
  2. Click "Direct my Gift to a specific area.
  3. Enter the gift amount
  4. Click "Select Department/Program and Enter Gift Amount"
  5. Select "Kalmonvitz School of Education"
  6. Select "Center for Environmental Literacy" *this is the most important step
  7. Complete the rest of the form.

 

To discuss specific projects or initiatives you might support, please call Pamela Michael at 925.631.4289.

Who We Are

Staff:

Pamela Pamela Michael photoMichael, CEL Director

Pamela is the co-founder (with Robert Hass) of River of Words. A writer, radio producer and host, and the former director of the United Nations Task Force on Media and Education, she has also worked for Save the Children (Egypt), the United States Coalition for Education for All, and many other development and educational organizations. She worked for the Discovery Channel’s Educational Division as a curriculum development consultant and was director of marketing and public relations for the San Jose Symphony. Pamela is the author of several books, including The Gift of Rivers; The Whole World is Watching: An International Inquiry into Media Involvement in Education, and many magazine, journal, and newspaper articles. Her anthologies of children's art and poetry are used in classrooms around the world. She has taught writing to aspiring and professional writers, as well as teachers, for over twenty years.

p: (925) 631-4289

e: pm7@stmarys-ca.edu

Kathleen Esling (and Lil BUB)Kathleen Esling, Program Assistant

Kathleen Esling is a recent graduate of Saint Mary's College of California. She graduated in May 2013 with a BA in English and a minor in Performing Arts: Theatre. As someone who enjoys writing research papers, Kathleen hopes to attend graduate school in the future. An enthusiastic supporter of children's literature, education, and sustainability, she is thrilled to be a part of this program. She looks forward to seeing what this year's poets and artists have to say. 

p: (925) 631-8817

e: kle2@stmarys-ca.edu



Student Workers:

Margie Simone

Margie Simone was born in Fresno, California. She was raised on a fig and almond farm. She is currently a junior at Saint Mary's College. She is interested in a Health Science major and is also involded in the Dante Club. Margie also strongly believes in the SLOW food and social justice movements.

 

 

Audrey Agot

Audrey Agot

Bay Area born and raised, Audrey is currently a Class of 2015 undergraduate, pursuing a degree in English. At Saint Mary’s College, she is the Assistant News Editor of The Collegian and works in the Center for Writing Across the Curriculum as an adviser. Although she is particularly interested in prose, she appreciates working with River of Words because it allows her the opportunity to explore poetry and artwork from all corners of the earth. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys watching old films and following professional basketball.


River of Words Advisory Council


Robert Hass

Robert Hass, co-chair

River of Words judge, advisor, and co-founder, and former U.S. Poet Laureate, Bob is the author of several books of poems, including Field Guide (1973), Praise (1979), Human Wishes (1989), and Sun Under Wood: New Poems (1996); and a collection of essays, Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry (1984). His poetry collection Time and Materials (2007) won the National Book Award for poetry and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. His awards include the Yale Younger Poets Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for criticism in 1984, an Award of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. A professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley since 1989, Bob served from 1995 to 1997 as Poet Laureate of the United States and as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress. He is a graduate of Saint Mary's College.

            

Chris Sindt

Christopher Sindt  

Christopher Sindt is Vice Provost for Graducate and Professional Programs at Saint Mary's and was director of the College’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program for seven years. Sindt has a doctorate in English and a master's degree in creative writing from UC Davis. His book The Bodies was published by Parlor Press in 2011 and his poetry chapbook, The Land of Give and Take, was published in 2002 and his poetry has recently appeared in nocturnes, Pool, Swerve and Xantippe

Dr. Raina J. León   Raina Leon

Dr. Raina J. León, Cave Canem graduate fellow (2006) and member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, has received several prestigious poetry awards and is the author of the forthcoming 2013 book of poetry, Boogeyman Dawn, which was also a finalist for the Naomi Long Madgett Prize (2010). Her first collection of poetry, Canticle of Idols, was a finalist for both the Cave Canem First Book Poetry Prize (2005) and the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize (2006) and is now available through Wordtech Communications.  She headed the High School Literacy Project at the University of North Carolina where she recently received her doctorate in education and is currently an assistant professor of education in the Kalmanovitz School of Education at St. Mary's College of California.  She came to Saint Mary’s from the Department of Defense Education Activity, where for three years she taught military dependents in Bamberg, Germany.   Raina received her BA in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University, MA in Teaching of English from Teachers College Columbia University and PhD in Education under the Culture, Curriculum and Change strand at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.  Her research interests include high school engagement and the teaching of poetry, critical literacy in the high school classroom, facilitating freshmen transitions and educational technology usage among high school educators.  She also is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latino and Latina arts.       

                                                                                                                                           

David Wood

David Wood

David Wood has worked for more than 25 years as an English teacher at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, currently serving as department chair. He received a distinguished teacher award from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, in 2002. He was a member of the board of the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley from 1998 to 2007 and served as board president from 1999 to 2001. He received an undergraduate degree from Yale University and a master of arts in teaching (MAT) in English education from the University of Chicago. Mr. Wood is also a director of the Wood Foundation of Chambersburg, PA.

 

John Muir Laws, River of Words Art JudgeJohn Muir Laws

River of Words art judge, Naturalist, educator and artist John (Jack) Muir Laws delights in exploring the natural world and sharing this love with others.  Laws has worked as an environmental educator since 1984 in California, Wyoming, and Alaska.  He teaches classes on natural history, conservation biology, scientific illustration, and field sketching. He is trained as a wildlife biologist and is an associate of the California Academy of Sciences. In 2009, he received the Terwilliger Environmental Award for outstanding  service in Environmental Education. He is a 2010 TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow with the National Audubon Society. He was the 2011 artist for International Migratory Bird Day. Laws has written and illustrated books about art and natural history including The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds (2012), Sierra Birds: a Hiker's Guide (2004), The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007), and The Laws Pocket Guide Set to the San Francisco Bay Area (2009). He is a regular contributor to Bay Nature magazine with his "Naturalists Notebook" column. His illustrations are informed by extensive field experience and capture the feeling of the living plant or animal, while also including details critical for identification. Laws is deeply committed to stewardship of nature and collaborates with organizations throughout the state. He is the founder and host of the Bay Area Nature Journal Club. A free, family friendly, intergenerational community who connect with nature through art and field journaling. He is the primary author and editor of the California Native Plant Society Curriculum: Opening the world through Nature Journaling. This standards based, curriculum is kid tested and teacher approved and integrates science, language arts, and visual arts through teaching students to keep a nature journal. He initiated Following Muir's Footsteps, an educational program to engender passionate love of nature, personal understanding of natural history and commitment to stewardship. This program gets students out in the field, learning from their own observations and using field guides and nature journals as the basis for discovering nature around them. As a part of this project, he is working secure funding to donate sets of field guides to every middle and high school in the Sierra Nevada.  


Leonore Wilson Leonore Wilson

Leonore Wilson has long taught English and creative writing at various colleges and universities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her new book of poetry is Western Solstice (Hiraeth Press). Her poetry, stories and essays have been featured in such magazines as Quarterly WestMadison ReviewLaurel ReviewPif, and Third Coast. She has won fellowships to the University of Utah and Villa Montalvo Center of the Arts. Her work has been nominated for four Pushcart awards. Leonore lives on her historic family cattle ranch in the east hills of the Napa Valley. She is the mother of three grown sons.

Stanley Young

In addition to serving as the climate change information officer for the California Air Resources Board, Mr. Young is an author and journalist who has written books and articles on environmental subjects. As communications director of the California Resources Agency, the umbrella state agency for natural resources and environmental management, he oversaw the internal and external communications of 28 departments, boards, commissions, and conservancies and managed a budget of $5 billion and a staff of more than 14,000. Later, as director of marketing for Jones & Stokes, he oversaw communications and branding for this environmental consulting firm of 500 professionals with offices in seven states. He is currently the climate change information officer for the California Air Resources Board. A Commonwealth Scholar who attended universities in Canada, Israel, and England, Stanley has also worked as a modern dancer, yoga teacher, and chef, and was a field officer in a Cambodian refugee camp.

Stephen NightingaleStephen Nightingale

Steven Nightingale is the author of two novels and five books of sonnets. He is the Trustee of the Nightingale Family Foundation. In his day job he works as a manager of venture capital investments, of an international portfolio of securities in the debt and equity markets, and of other arcane enterprises. He loves Matilija poppies, sagebrush, golden eagles, Emily Dickinson, the North Yuba canyon, and the water ouzel.

He has one wife, the inestimable Lucy Blake; and with her he has one child, a daughter much smarter than he is.

Robert RosenthalRobert Rosenthal

Robert Rosenthal helps business and nonprofit leaders align their communications and audience engagement strategies with overall organizational objectives. His specialty is the intersection of communities, communications and cause engagement, and since 2004 he has worked almost exclusively with groups that serve as "capacity-builders" to strategically strengthen the independent sector. Today, Robert heads communications and marketing for VolunteerMatch, the Web's largest volunteer engagement network.

He also frequently speaks on topics like these at SXSW, the Nonprofit Technology Conference, Social Media Week, Netsquared, and the National Conference on Volunteering and Service.



Patty Murray

For the past 25 years Patty has been an arts administrator, both professional and volunteer. She wore many hats with the New Pickle Circus in San Francisco, managed a Concert Series at Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church, and was Concert Manager of WomenSing, a Bay Area choral group. Retired from that work professionally, she still shares her expertise with WomenSing. She is a dedicated choral singer! 
On a fortuitous visit to River of Words’ Young at Art Gallery in Berkeley in 2003 Patty met ROW co-founder, Pamela Michael. WomenSing had just established a New Music Fund and the poetry and art at the gallery made a deep impression. With the enthusiastic involvement of WomenSing’s Artistic Director a partnership was developed with ROW called Youth inspiring Youth: Commissioning Emerging Composers. Using the inspired poetry of the children of the world from the River of Words collection, Youth Inspiring Youth holds a competition for young (under 25) composers annually and has premiered ten pieces for treble chorus, some of which include a children’s chorus, since the project began. The Library of Congress Center for the Book, a long-time affiliate of River of Words, sponsored a concert for WomenSing in Washington DC in 2011.
Patty is an involved grandmother to seven, a singer, an adventurous and frequent traveler to Nepal and Tibet, and a garden builder. Way back in the middle of the last century, she graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Rhetoric, followed by a stint at Stanford’s Summer Institute for Radio and Television Production.


River of Words

The Center for Environmental Literacy at Saint Mary’s College is pleased—thrilled!—to announce the winners and finalists of this year’s competition.

 

Grand Prize winners and our Teacher of the Year will be honored at the 2014 Youth Creativity Awards on June 15 at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California (just outside San Francisco). Our annual anthology will be available in early May. Prints of the artwork will be available in mid-April. If you have questions, please contact Kathleen Esling, kle2@stmarys-ca.edu.

We received entries from 35 States and the District of Columbia, as well as from 17 other countries: Afghanistan, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Serbia, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom. This year, owls and deer seemed to be the theme of many submissions, particularly the art entries. As usual, it was painful and difficult for the judges to make their selections.

(Drum roll) Here they are -- click for a list of winners!

Click here for winning and finalist art!

Click here for winning and finalist poetry!

(For full press release, see here.)

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Promoting Environmental Literacy through the Arts and Cultural Exchange

River of Words® (ROW) is a program of The Center for Environmental Literacy and a part of the Kalmanovitz School of Education.  Acknowledged pioneers in the field of place-based education, River of Words has been inspiring educators and their students for over seventeen years with an innovative blend of science and the arts.

River of Words is its own watershed: a linked network of people throughout the United States and the world who are committed to teaching the art and poetry of place to young people. Since 1995, River of Words has encouraged young people to explore and savor the watersheds where they live and trained educators to guide them with inspiration and passion. Through professional development and other educational services, traveling exhibits, publications and community programs, ROW reaches thousands of educators and young people around the world.

ROW was co-founded in 1995 by writer and activist Pamela Michael and then-US Poet Laureate (and SMC alumnus) Robert Hass. One of the program’s most noteworthy events, conducted in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book, is a free, annual international poetry and art contest for children in kindergarten through twelfth grade. ROW has donated their collection of children’s art—the largest in the world—to Saint Mary’s Hearst Art Gallery, which will exhibit the work and make it available for scholarly research. There are many opportunities available for SMC faculty to collaborate with this innovative and dynamic program through the Center for Environmental Literacy. For more information please contact Pamela Michael, River of Words co-founder and director of Saint Mary's Center for Environmental Literacy, at pm7@stmarys-ca.edu or 925-631-4289.

  

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Center for Environmental Literacy

The Center for Environmental Literacy at Saint Mary’s College is pleased—thrilled!—to announce the winners and finalists of this year’s competition.

 

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1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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