Two Columbia County 4-H Club members were state winners in the River of Words contest.
The winners were fifth graders Meredith Nowling and Madison Peace, both students of Blue Ridge Elementary School teacher Gail Reed. Madison, who has moved, wrote her poem during the 2000-2001 school year but it was just submitted to the contest this year, along with Meredith's poem.
"We learned about it through our 4-H meeting and our teacher wanted me to enter because she thought I had good writing skills," said ten-year-old Meredith. "I thought about a river and thought it would be a good choice. Water is important to us because we drink it, we use to for our plants to grow and give us food. The world wouldn't be very pretty without water."
Madison is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Peace, of Greenwood, S.C. Meredith is the daughter of Hope Straw of Martinez.
Meredith said winning the award has inspired her to become a writer.
"I like to write stories, anything that comes into my mind," she said.
The two girls received a certificate and were invited to Atlanta to read their poems May 19 at the Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta. State winners will have their poetry and art displayed at the Georgia River of Words Exhibition for one year. The exhibition travels to schools, conferences, water festivals, parks and state buildings.
In Georgia, the River of Words project is coordinated the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division's Project WET (Water Education for Teachers). The Georgia Project WET program offers teaching guides which contain watershed information and ways to incorporate the subject into classroom activities.
River of Words, an international poetry and art contest for children in kindergarten through twelfth grade, invites students to explore their own watershed and its importance in their lives, and to express what they've learned through poetry and art. The program was inspired by former US Poet Laureate (1995-1997) Robert Hass' commitment to environmental education. National winners' poems and drawings circulate around the world in traveling displays.
For more information, point your browser to the River of Words web site http://www.riverofwords.org.
Down By The River, by Madison Peace
In the yard children laugh and play
But down in the river is where I like to stay
Sitting on my rock chair watching water trickling by
Or laying on my rock bed looking at the clouds in the sky.
Listening to the crickets chirp and the frogs croak
Wiggling my toes in the water letting my feet soak
Watching the pretty fish swim
Or climbing on a shady tree, limb by limb.
The water rushing or forcing itself to go.
It's like earth is way above
But I'm in the river down below
I don't think I'd live if I didn't ever
get to go down by the river.
The River, by Meredith Nowling
The river is friendly, the river is kind,
the river is home to all sorts and all kinds.
The river is wonderful, the river's unique,
the river is one of the earth's wonders
we have to keep.
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