Appreciation for the Lowcountry landscape and respect for the environment is the impetus behind the "River of Words" challenge.

2019 “River of Words” collection published
Posted on 04/11/2019
2019 River of Words opening

Thursday, April 11, 2019

District students combine science, art studies
to create annual ‘River of Words’ publication

BEAUFORT – Port Royal Sound’s complex ecology and serene beauty is the inspiration for a new collection of art and poetry by Beaufort County School District students.

“River of Words:  Musings on Port Royal Sound through Poetry and Art 2019,” was unveiled at a reception tonight at the Port Royal Maritime Center. The annual student publication springs from interdisciplinary learning experiences about the sound’s watersheds.

The purpose of the project is to instill an awareness and appreciation for the Lowcountry landscape, said project coordinator Heather Brabham. “‘River of Words’ celebrates the connection all of us have with Port Royal Sound,” Brabham said.  “It reminds us how lucky we are to call this incredible place our home.”

Brabham said first- through 10
th-grade students from 18 district schools accepted the “River of Words” challenge by visiting marshes, beaches and maritime forests to guide their creativity.  Science, English language arts, math, visual arts and gifted-and-talented teachers joined forces to design interdisciplinary units of study that examined local watersheds from multiple perspectives.

Students were challenged to explore, understand and create.  Brabham said that while students observed, measured, tested, researched and documented, they also heightened their senses and attuned them to the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world. Following their scientific discoveries, students transformed their new knowledge into poems and art.

Now in its ninth year, “River of Words” enables students to use humor and haiku, free verse, figurative language, vivid vocabularies and heartfelt advocacy along with paint, pencil and digital images to demonstrate their understanding of Port Royal Sound and to make their voices heard.

This year’s cover art was created by Paul Luzny, a fourth-grader at Riverview Charter School.  The focus of Luzny’s abstract piece is a Spanish moss-draped live oak tree like those that can be seen throughout Beaufort County.

Participating “River of Words” schools this year were: Battery Creek High, Beaufort Middle, Beaufort Elementary, Bluffton Middle, Broad River Elementary, Coosa Elementary, H.E. McCracken Middle, Hilton Head Island Elementary, Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts, Lady’s Island Elementary  M.C. Riley Elementary, Okatie Elementary, Port Royal Elementary, Pritchardville Elementary, Red Cedar Elementary, Riverview Charter, River Ridge Academy, and Robert Smalls International Academy.

Brabham thanked the environmental organizations that taught students and teachers to examine and respect the uniqueness of the Port Royal ecosystem, as well as local artists who helped students merge science and art into the book.  Brabham also thanked the Port Royal Sound Foundation for helping to fund the project.

“River of Words” can be purchased for $15.  For more information, contact Heather Brabham