Curriclum Area(s) enhanced by this activity: Environmental Studies, Geography, History,
Best for grade level: K – 3, 4 – 8, 9 – 12, 12 – ADULT,
In January 2009, I took a cross-country trip with my friends from New York City to Los Angeles. Like many such road trips, this one was partly planned and partly serendipitous. We took a southern route, not only in an effort to avoid wintry northern weather, but because we wanted to go to Nashville, Marfa, Santa Fe, Canyon de Chelly. As soon as we crossed the Hudson, well, went underneath it in the Holland Tunnel, it occurred to me to keep a list of all the rivers, streams, springs, runs, creeks, washes, draws, and rios we crossed.
How the educator led the project & inspired work:
This is, of course, an incomplete record. We did not learn the names of many, many more. The intent of this list, then, other than to help fasten these names in my mind and memory, is to encourage other travelers to take note of similar crossings. My hope is that it would be a beginning, a prompt for towns, villages, local municipalities, and ultimately, the U.S. Department of Transportation, to post the names of all waterways in our country. It seems appropriate that in a time of extreme weather, rising waters, floods, and droughts, a time, that is, when our associations with American tributaries of all widths, lengths, and depths become increasingly erratic and unpredictable, that we, at least, come to learn their names.
Summary: By creating a list of rivers crossed when traveling, a familiarity with the landscape is created and an appreciation of our waterways grows. Make a map using images or words to learn about and record the waterways in your community. Share stories, songs, poems and visual art to celebrate water.