The Port Royal Sound interpreted through art and words

2018 River of Words
Posted on 04/26/2018
River of Words book and artwork

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 / River of Words-2018

Annual ‘River of Words’ publication fuses creative student works in art and science

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 2018,” 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.

“We live in a beautiful and extraordinary place, and too often we take it for granted,” said Heather Brabham, the project’s coordinator.  “ ‘River of Words’ allows teachers and students to go beyond the classroom to learn and become inspired, so we’re able to see our environment with a renewed appreciation.  We can thank the amazing talents of our children for that.”

Brabham said kindergarten- through 12th-grade students from 20 district schools accepted the “River of Words” challenge this school year by visiting neighboring 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 and teachers equipped with binoculars, cameras and sketchbooks experienced first-hand the intricate ecology of Port Royal Sound.  They tested water quality, studied stormwater run-off and discussed the effects of pollution and population growth. They kayaked in area rivers, embarked on virtual field trips, toured the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center and explored the Lowcountry’s natural history and cultural heritage at Coastal Discovery Museum. 

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 were charged to transform their new knowledge into poems and art.  “River of Words” was the result.

Now in its eighth 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, is a combination of photography from Battery Creek High senior Andrew Makowski and pastels representing the marsh by Beaufort Middle School seventh-grader Nicole Robinson.

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

Brabham thanked the environmental organizations that taught students and teachers to examine and respect the uniqueness of the Port Royal ecosystem, as well as the 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, email Heather Brabham, or call 843-322-5424.