News from the DNR Office of Communications

Governor Announces River Of Words Poetry And Art Contest Winners

Annapolis, MD (June 21, 2010) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the winners of the 2010 Maryland River of Words Poetry and Art Contest. This is the seventh year that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has partnered with River of Words, an international poetry and art contest. This year, artwork and poetry from 121 school children, grades K-12, from eight Maryland counties were entered in the contest. Four pieces were chosen as champions.

“I’d like to congratulate these young people for their outstanding artwork and poetry,” said Governor O’Malley. “In cooperation with the Partnership for Children in Nature, this contest provides more opportunities for Maryland children to experience and learn about their natural world, helping them to become wise stewards of our abundant natural resources.”

Each year, 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. Children entered their work on their own or as part of a group (classroom, Girl Scout troop, 4-H, etc.). Maryland students qualify for the Maryland portion of the contest automatically by entering the annual international contest.

“Much of the poetry and artwork is about the Chesapeake Bay – clearly a source of inspiration for these talented young artists,” said DNR’s Education Manager Elena Takaki. “We are pleased to see that these students have a strong connection to nature and are motivated to be good stewards of our natural resources.”

DNR staff and a local artist judged and chose one entry from each age group in both art and poetry.

This year’s champions are:

Jack Mellody, 8th grade, Montgomery County
Ryan Van Tine, 4th grade, Howard County

Michelle Chang, 11th grade, Howard County
Hannah Garrett, 4th grade, Anne Arundel County

Each champion will receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bond courtesy of BB&T Bank. In addition, the winning pieces will be on display at the DNR exhibit at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium from August 27 to September 6. The winning submissions can also be viewed at

To ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards, Governor O’Malley established the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature in 2008. Under this 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.

   June 21, 2010

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

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 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