River of Words Contest

Our free, annual, international youth poetry and art contest — the largest in the world — inspires students ages 5 to 19 to translate their observations into creative expression.

2022 River of Words Contest

New! All entries to our 2022 ROW contest will be accepted online only. In order to be more in line with our environmental mission, we will no longer accept physical submissions entries and paper entry forms to decrease our carbon footprint. The online submission portal is now open. **Please note change to deadlines: all United States and international entries (Georgia and Arizona excluded) must be submitted by December 1, 2021


The theme of the contest is "watersheds." If you don't know what a watershed is, click here! A watershed is a river, creek, etc. that drains into the same body of water; every plant, animal, person, and object you see in your day-to-day life is part of your watershed.

The goal of River of Words is to connect youth with their watersheds — the environments they live in — through engagement in the art and poetry of place. That means we look for art and poetry that shows a real connection to the world around you. For some folks, that means a lot of green and open space; for others, that means a city environment, with different noises, smells, and sights. We're looking for youth to show us what only they see about their world. 

For more details, visit this page.

Polar bear in Arctic sea surrounded by ice floats. Glaciers can be seen in the background.Promoting Environmental Literacy through the Arts and Cultural Exchang

River of Words® (ROW) is a program of The Center for Environmental Literacy and a part of the Kalmanovitz School of Education. Acknowledged pioneers in the field of place-based education, River of Words has been inspiring educators and their students for over twenty five years with an innovative blend of science and the arts.

River of Words is its own watershed: a linked network of people throughout the United States and the world who are committed to teaching the art and poetry of place to young people. Since 1995, River of Words has encouraged young people to explore and savor the watersheds where they live and trained educators to guide them with inspiration and passion. Through professional development and other educational services, traveling exhibits, publications and community programs, ROW reaches thousands of educators and young people around the world.