Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Institute on the Environment News Covers River Journey Exhibit
Thanks to Institute on the Environment News for covering the River Journey Exhibit which opened last week! Link HERE.

Monday, June 15, 2015

River Journey exhibit installed today

we watch the stream
Impressions from River Journey 
Jonee Kulman Brigham 
with River’s Edge Academy
Commons Meeting and Art Space  
at Institute on the Environment, 
University of Minnesota 
June 15, 2015 – October 12, 2015

 The exhibit includes artworks and documentation of the River Journey
project including photographs, maps, reflective writing,
and objects used for water interactions.
More information here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

River Journey Poem

The River Journey poem puts some of the essential questions and goals of the project into poetic form.
"How do we know the water's worth?"
"What is flowing in our sink?"
"Please speak a word for water's worth."

How to use this poem...
At the beginning of River Journey, on August 27, 2014, in opening circle, staff and the guest River Journey leader recited the opening poem, titled for the project. This launched the River Journey experience for the year. After the poem, a River's Edge teacher led an interactive water-values activity, passing around a pitcher of water from the school's kitchen sink and inviting the holder to say what they value about water.

In Fall: The poem was recited also at Kaposia Landing, after the students completed their journey from upstream to downstream - connecting their sink to the Mississippi River in both directions.

Recently: The poem was imprinted on the shelves of an artwork for the project, called Journey Bottles.

Today: The poem was recited in opening circle today, as part of a closing ceremony.

More about the poem
River Journey is designed based on the Earth Systems Journey (ESJ) model for art-led environmental education. The ESJ model builds from an aesthetic/artistic core concept, or a “poetic infrastructure.” The poem serves as the overarching “story” of what is going on, and is also a departure point, or preamble, to the student and staff creative/scholarly work that will further develop the project. It is like the creative/aesthetic/poetic “skeleton” that student creative/scholarly work “fleshes out.” The poetic skeleton is reflected in the project title, guiding words/text, and at least some of the art/interactive activities.

This poem was inspired by the path of water through the school, the planned journey, the chosen focal point of water flowing through the school (the kitchen sink),  and on the research question (quest) that the staff posed about value. The title of the poem uses the short version of the title the staff chose for their application of the Earth Systems Journey at River’s Edge Academy. The first four verses come from “The Downstream/Upstream Song,” also by Jonee for a similar project, and reflects the common water story shared with that Earth Systems Journey—and our larger collective shared water story.

This is a working poem; it's job is to remind project leaders and participants of the underlying story and the underlying questions of the experience.

Display case for "Journey Bottles" installed today

At the beginning of River Journey, during the travels upstream and downstream from their sink, students gathered bits of water from the locations we visited into a "Journey Bottle."  The Journey Bottles were regular water bottles until students removed the commercial label, drank the contents, and transformed them into a tool for reflection. At each stop, along with collecting water, students wrote words they felt represented the value of the water at that point. Later, students wrote a verse of poetry (in couplet form) to answer the call of the River Journey poem: "Please speak a word for water's worth." These were turned into paper labels for the bottles and combined with an image of each students' eyes, looking at the river.

The display case was designed to give these reflections - so unique to each student - a special place.

Closing Activity for River Journey Today: What are you grateful for about the Mississippi River?

Students answer the question as they pour water from the kitchen sink at River's Edge Academy into a common vessel.