River of Words

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.

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 twenty years with an innovative blend of science and the arts.

Polar bear in Arctic sea surrounded by ice floats. Glaciers can be seen in the background.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 Maureen Esty, River of Words Coordinator of Saint Mary's Center for Environmental Literacy, at rowinfo@stmarys-ca.edu or 925-631-4289.

Contest winners and finalists are published the River of Words Art and Poetry Anthology - Check out our digital 2015 River of Words Art and Poetry Anthology here!

 

Announcing River of Words Winners and Finalists of 2016-17!

For a complete list of this year's Winners and Finalists - click here! Winning artwork and poetry to come!

The 2016-17 River of Words winning artwork can be found here! Winning poems as well as the International Prize, Shasta Bioregion, and Monkey's Raincoat winners will be posted momentarily.