Smithsonian Institution
Festival Radio
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Arts in Conservation Education

River of Words

River of Words encourages both teachers and students to become “ecoliterate” through poetry and art. Its interactive curriculum works to build curiosity and encourage critical thinking. Founded by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass and writer-activist Pamela Michael, River of Words holds an annual nationwide art and poetry contest on the theme of watersheds. Judged by co-founders Hass and Michael, students have a chance to combine their art talent with science and conservation. Inspired by nature and the inspiration that nature has given artists and poets for centuries, this contest sheds light on the importance of environmental and arts education (which is often marginalized in the United States). River of Words has also achieved much success in its training workshops, traveling exhibitions, and teacher training. For more information please visit
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