Promoting Student Stewardship
Honoring Our Rivers
Celebrating watersheds through student art and creative writing
We promote the inclusion of arts and creative writing in environmental education. From kindergarten to college, students reflect on the watersheds and rivers of the Pacific Northwest and express it creatively through a published anthology, public readings, and gallery exhibitions. Learn more about this project below.
What is Honoring Our Rivers?
Honoring Our Rivers is a project started by a small group of educators, river enthusiasts, creatives, and conservationists in Salem who wanted to promote the intersection of watershed education, art, and creative writing.
The project’s mission is to encourage stewardship of river watersheds and to nurture the next generation of civic and conservation leaders by engaging the creative capacities of our youth.
Since 2000, Honoring Our Rivers has been publishing student (K-college) art, photography, poetry, and prose (including written works in foreign languages) inspired by the watersheds and rivers of the Pacific Northwest into an annual anthology. The publication also features a handful of selections from acclaimed, regional authors and artists. It is distributed throughout Oregon to schools, public libraries, our partners and available on the Honoring Our Rivers website.
That’s not all. Honoring Our Rivers is more than a print product. We celebrate the work of our young artists and authors through student recognition events, like our annual Student Showcase at Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest, independent bookstore, and through student readings events and gallery exhibitions across Oregon. We’re always looking for new gallery spaces for our rotating student exhibition, so if you’re interested in hosting student artwork at your space please contact the program coordinator.
Finally, we are working to expand the use of art and creative writing in outdoor environmental education. We’ve recently been awarded a grant from the Gray Family Foundation to work with two outdoor schools to incorporate more art and creative writing in their curriculum.
What is an anthology?
An anthology is a collection of selected literary pieces or works of art. Honoring Our Rivers: A Student Anthology is a 68-page, color publication distributed across Oregon to participating schools, families, partners, public libraries, and available on the Honoring Our Rivers website.
How are teachers involved?
Oregon and Washington educators are key to the project’s success. They elicit students’ creative thinking skills when they use art and writing to reinforce environmental science and civic responsibility topics. By doing so, they are also helping students foster a connection to the outdoors because nature-inspired art and writing require deep observation and reflection on river environments. Educators are also critical because they gift students with this unique opportunity to be published by helping them navigate the submission process!
For all these reasons, we are here to help support educators and outdoor schools. We facilitate professional development workshops and can provide resources for aligning nature-related art and writing with learning standards.
Other ways to partner
We love working with our sponsors and partners to find new ways to get kids outside and nurture their creativity. Learn who they are on the Honoring Our Rivers website or become one yourself by contacting the program coordinator today.
Mayor Ted Wheeler takes a celebratory dip at Portland’s new public beach, named Poet’s Beach after the student poem…
With the last day of school around the corner in Oregon, ’Honoring Our Rivers’ reels in another successful year…
This year, we received a record-breaking number of submissions for Honoring our Rivers, a statewide student art contest sponsored…
Get in touch about connecting arts and creative writing with river and watershed education.