MORRISTOWN, NJ - Unity Charter School Students in Grades k-8 participated in the 2016 River of Words Contest sponsored by St. Mary's College, CA Center for Environmental Literacy. Each year St. Mary’s college, in conjunction with the Center of the Book in the Library of Congress, receives submissions from students across the globe who participate in the free international art and poetry contest, which has been held annually since 1995. 

Eighty nine Unity students participated in the event and worked throughout the months of October and November to submit original pieces of art, photography, and poetry.  The student’s work depicted their interpretation of the significance and importance of understanding and protecting our watershed areas. Environmental literacy can be expressed through through the arts as the students participate in nature explorations, sketching, nature journal, and poetry writing. 

Integrating the arts into the sciences provides rich, multi-dimensional learning opportunities and greater accessibility for students to engage in important discussions of sustainability, while appreciating the diversity through which humans express themselves.

"At Unity Charter School, environmental literacy extends well beyond the science classroom" said Executive Director, Connie Sanchez. "We find discussions around issues of nature awareness and sustainability can happen in any classroom and in any discipline when we provide a learning environment that encourages exploration, questioning and support of multiple intelligence's. We encourage and engage our students in learning through reflection by doing. Art and poetry offer that opportunity for reflection for many of our students".