CAMDEN—If you’re in Camden these next couple of weeks, take the time to see what’s written on storefront windows. “Poetry on Windows,” a project of the Stewardship Educational Alliance, is a public display of poems by students from local public, private, and independent schools as well as from prize-winning adult poets. Inspired by United Nations World Ocean’s Day, the project collected original poetry about nature, watersheds, and the ocean and will be on display until June 19.
For the second year, POW has provided some powerful reflections from pre-school to 7th grade students, according to project coordinator and S.E.A. board member Elphie Owen.
“This is the voice of the next generation,” said Owen. “Some of these poems from the younger children are very sweet and as you start to see some of the longer poetry from the older students, it takes on a bit more of an edge.”
Past S.E. A. Projects
- Helping Amphibians Cross The Road
- Nature Trail at Hope Elementary School
- Monitoring the Quality of Air at Riley School
“If we invite teachers to apply for projects, programs, and courses of their own choice that fits into their curriculum and into our mission, then that’s a way to reach both kids and adults on these issues,” said Lawrence
As most adults don’t have access to the thoughts and perspectives of children, unless they have children themselves, it’s a way for visitors and the community to get a real understanding of how Generation Alpha (defined as being born 2010 to 2024) perceives the world they’ve inherited. A generation born into a climate crisis, Generation Alpha is deeply concerned about their future. A 2019 report from Wunderman Thompson Commerce found that 67% of 6-to-9-year-olds say that saving the planet will be the central mission of their careers in the future.
“It’s a wonderful way for kids to express their feelings about the environment,” said board member Barbara Lawrence. “They are the future and our environment needs help.”
The majority of the poems can be found on Washington Street, Main Street, and Bayview Street. Maine’s poet Laureate Stu Kestenbaum, whose poem is on the window of Page Gallery, also led a ZOOM reading from the Camden Public Library. Poet Jason Grunstrum-Whitney is a Bear Clan member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and his poem is on the Zoot Cafe window.
A Scavenger Hunt with prizes will also be part of POW! Find more details on how to participate through S.E.A.’s Facebook page.
Poetry on Windows is sponsored by Camden National Bank, the Bisbee Fund, and Youth Arts.
Stewardship Educational Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, about a year old, whose mission is to work with schools in Camden and Rockport on grant-funded projects that engage students in improving the local environment and watersheds. With nine board members, several of the board members act as liaisons with the schools.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org