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River of Words tour visits Richmond Hill
ROW wall
Local resident Alzora Graham was one of the first to check out the River of Words display at the Richmond Hill Library. The display is on tour throughout the state of Georgia, and will be here for viewing until Oct. 7. - photo by Photo by Jessica Holthaus

The Georgia River of Words has come to Bryan County and is on display at the Richmond Hill Library until Oct. 7.

The River of Words (ROW) is an international environmental poetry and art project designed for students in grades K-12, to help increase respect and understanding of the natural world.

"We send the display around to other libraries throughout the state. Once it leaves Decatur, it tours 50 out of the 52 weeks of the year," said Joe Davich of Georgia Center for the Book and River of Words Tour coordinator, noting the tour ends in Atlanta next May.

The Richmond Hill Library was excited to be a part of the project.

"We had it here several years ago, and we’re the only ones in the region to have it; we really are very fortunate," said Kate Barker, Richmond Hill Library manager.

While the project is international, there have been national winners and finalists from Georgia every year since 1997.

"With all the talk about Georgia and low education, if you look at this project and what students have done with it – we must be doing something right," Barker said.

Barker said ROW is important because it gets children involved at looking at the environment beyond just science, taking it to a higher level by encompassing art and poetry as well.

Barker said the library applied to be on the tour list last year, but there was a problem with getting the display to the site.

This year, the ROW arrived on Sept. 25.

"I love this, it’s absolutely wonderful," said onlooker Alzora Graham.

The project is a watershed study that was first started by the former U.S. Poet Laureate, Robert Hass. Each year, students can enter their poetry and art in the International River of Words competition. In April the winners are announced, with the eight annual National Grand Prize Winners getting a trip to Washington, D.C., where they are recognized at the Library of Congress.

To be considered in next year’s contest, all ROW entries must be received by Feb. 15. For more information, visit or

Georgia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) is a co-sponsor of the ROW competition, Davich said.

Project WET is an international water science and education program for all areas of study; River of Words is just one program they work on.

"We’d love for more people to come find out more information about the River of Words from the library and display, as well as our other literary projects and contests we hold," Davich said.

For those interested, Davich can be reached at Center for the Book, 404-370-8450, ext. 2285.

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