Poetry Installation Opens at Constitution Marsh

Following the success of last year’s inaugural River of Words Poetry Trail, the Hudson Highlands Land Trust (HHLT) and Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary have opened the 2013 River of Words Poetry Trail. The Poetry Trail is a series of unique, temporary installations celebrating the nature-inspired poetry of local students winding through one of the Hudson Highlands’ most inspiring natural settings: the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary in Garrison.

From back left, HHLT Educator and Award-winning poet Irene O’Garden, teachers Maureen Beyrer, Putnam Valley Elementary School, and Jennifer Windels, Haldane Elementary School, and event sponsor Central Hudson Gas and Electric’s Vice President of Corporate Communications Denise Van Buren, and featured student poets Eric, Ben, Catarina, Daniel and David at the opening reception of HHLT’s River of Words Poetry Trail at Constitution Marsh. (Photo courtesy of HHLT)

From back left, HHLT Educator and Award-winning poet Irene O’Garden, teachers Maureen Beyrer, Putnam Valley Elementary School, and Jennifer Windels, Haldane Elementary School, and event sponsor Central Hudson Gas and Electric’s Vice President of Corporate Communications Denise Van Buren, and featured student poets Eric, Ben, Catarina, Daniel and David at the opening reception of HHLT’s River of Words Poetry Trail at Constitution Marsh. (Photo courtesy of HHLT)

The eight featured works were created by students from public schools within the Land Trust’s mission area during HHLT’s Regional River of Words (ROW) environmental education workshops throughout the 2012-13 school year. This year’s featured student poets include: Daniel from Jennifer Windels’ fourth grade class at Haldane Elementary School; Alanna from Michelle Hartford’s fourth grade class at Haldane Elementary School; Catarina and David from Maureen Beyrer’s fourth grade class at Putnam Valley Elementary School; Ben from Kelly Hogan’s third grade class at Cornwall Elementary School at Willow Avenue; and Aidan, Madison and Ryan from Kelly Crisci’s third grade class at Cornwall Elementary School at Lee Road.

The HHLT Poetry Trail kicked off with a reception Aug. 25, which featured a reading by award-winning poet and River of Words educator, Irene O’Garden. The self-guided tour of the trail is open to the public from dawn-to-dusk through Sept. 15. Poetry trail maps are located at the Constitution Marsh parking lot and information center.

In October, the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum will host a River of Words Poetry Trail to feature an additional eight poems written by children. Both Poetry Trail installations have been made possible through a generous grant from Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.

“The Hudson Highlands Land Trust and Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary work to preserve a unique and sensitive ecosystem here in the Mid-Hudson Valley, all while educating our younger citizens on the value of our natural world,” said James P. Laurito, President of Central Hudson. “We are proud to support their mission and to help share the creative works of these students through their poetry.”

“If you think it’s fun watching kids hunt for Easter eggs, you should watch them gallop the trail looking for poems!” said Irene O’Garden.

River of Words is an international program co-founded by U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, and affiliated with the Library of Congress Center for the Book. HHLT offers a free regional version of ROW to public schools in the Hudson Highlands, using resources of the national program to focus on the Hudson River watershed.

The program also trains teachers to use nature as a learning laboratory, conducts outdoor student workshops and ties nature-inspired, outdoor-based programming to the New York State Core Curriculum Standards. Visit hhlt.org, call 845-424- 3358, or visit constitutionmarsh.audubon.org.


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