News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Announces River of Words® Poetry and Art Contest Finalists

Annapolis, MD - Over the last year, 415 Maryland school children entered their artwork and poetry into the Maryland River of Words®, a contest that teaches the next generation about watersheds and our natural environment through the arts.

“Much of the poetry and artwork is about the Chesapeake Bay – clearly a source of inspiration for these talented young artists,” said Elena Takaki, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Education Manager. “It is reassuring to know that these students have a strong connection to nature and will be motivated to be good stewards of our natural resources.”

This is the sixth year that the DNR partnered with River of Words®, an international poetry and art contest. Maryland students qualify for the Maryland portion of the contest automatically by entering the annual international contest. Children enter their work on their own, or as part of a group (classroom, Girl Scout troop, 4-H, etc.).

Each year, the theme of the River of Words® contest is “watershed,” in which children from all over the world in Kindergarten through 12th grade learn about watersheds and turn what they have learned into original poetry or artwork to enter into the contest. For the Maryland contest, one poetry and one art finalist were chosen in each age category (grades K-6 and 7-12) representing nine of the ten tributary areas in Maryland.

Contest champions will be announced during a ceremony on “Natural Resources Day” at the Maryland State Fair on Saturday, August 29th. All finalists will be awarded ribbons and free State Fair passes donated by the Maryland State Fair, and each champion will receive a $100 savings bond courtesy of BB&T Bank and a gift basket. Finalists and champion artwork and poetry will be on display at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium from August 29 to September 7, 2009 in the DNR Exhibit Building.

For more information on Maryland River of Words® and to view the art and poetry, visit:

To ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards, Governor Martin O’Malley established the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature in 2008. Under the initiative, which is now being used as a national model, the Governor created the Maryland Civic Justice Corps, a summer job and environmental education program that employs at risk youth in Maryland State Parks, and recently issued the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. A plan to implement the Partnership’s Report and Recommendations – presented to Governor O’Malley in April -- is under development. During the 2009 legislative session, the O’Malley-Brown Administration secured record funding for Maryland’s #1 ranked public schools for the third consecutive year, with an investment of more than $5.5 billion.

Maryland River of Words 2009 Poetry Finalists

Choptank Tributary:

Marge Hyatt of Easton for “Watershed Haiku” (Grades 7-12)

Lower Eastern Shore Tributary:

  • Cameron Dziekiewicz of Leonardtown for “Waterfall” (Grade K-6)

Lower Western Shore Tributary:

Middle Potomac Tributary:

  • Max Wolpoff of Potomac for “The Water Cycle” (Grades K-6)
  • Pryce Beven of Chevy Chase for “Isolated” (Grades 7-12)

Patapsco/Back Tributaries:

Patuxent Tributary:

Upper Eastern Shore Tributary:

Upper Potomac Tributary:

Upper Western Shore Tributary:

  • Campbell Walz of Freeland for “Rain” (Grades K-6)
  • Jeffrey Wong of Sparks for “The View” (Grades 7-12)

Maryland River of Words 2009 Art Finalists

Lower Potomac Tributary:

Lower Western Shore Tributary:

  • David Nehf of Lusby for “OLSS” (Grades K-6)

Middle Potomac Tributary:

  • Kim David Bloescm of Silver Spring for “Osprey” (Grades K-6)
  • Roby Menefee of Bethesda for “The Chesapeake Bee” (Grades 7-12)

Patapsco Tributary:

Patuxent Tributary:

Upper Western Shore Tributary:

  • Danielle Harringan of Cockeysville for “The Hawk” (Grades 7-12)

   June 11, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at