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  • Students share poetry, artwork as part of Living River project

    With poetry, paintings, essays and more than a little science thrown in, Pima County’s Living River of Words project introduces children to watersheds and wetland habitats. 

    Students age 5-19 do their exploring through scientific investigations along a stream or some other field trip, then share their impressions through poetry and the visual arts.

    In years past, their creations were displayed at local libraries. This year, COVID changed all that, forcing folks to get a little bit more creative.
    LROW student artwork
    Christine Hoekenga with the Environmental Education Program in the County's Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Department, has taken to the department's Facebook page to share the students' work, since Pima County Libraries are currently only open for limited services, and patrons are asked to make their visits as short as possible. 

    The instant gratification from Facebook posts has been satisfying. A poem titled "Comfort in the Desert" by 10-year-old Alina Rudnitsky of Davis Bilingual Magnet School drew comments such as "This is amazing!" and "I know and love the same desert you wrote about." 

    Her poem:

    Running through
    the desert on a cloudy spring day
    The grass is dancing and the clouds are overjoyed
    I ask, "for what makes you happy on this wonderful day?"
    They say to me, "for the sun is asleep"
    The Lady Bugs whisper
    In my ear and say to me, "the rain is out!"
    Por eso las hojas son muy frescas para comer"
    I live in a desert how do I know?
    Only in the desert is it a comfort
    when the sun is asleep


    Once library services are restored and patrons are able to spend more time inside, NRPR will work with library staff to install the Living River of Words traveling exhibit — featuring the artwork and poetry of this year’s local and international finalists — in its first location. The schedule for the season will be posted on the Living River of Words website once it has been determined. 

    View the publication with contributions of all the winners.

    Photo: Adriel Valenzuela was the Grand Prize Visual Arts Winner for Category 1, which includes kindergarten and first grade, in the 2020 Living River of Words Youth Poetry and Art Contest. Adriel (age 6) is a student at Cragin Elementary School.
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