Written by Kat Lykins
Blandford Nature Center, in collaboration with The Diatribe and the Lower Grand River Organizations of Watersheds (LGROW), held the We are Water Workshop in mid-summer. This workshop combined traditional education methods with unique artistic techniques to help students engage and understand the environment while visualizing an active role in the environmental movement. The program, guided by teachers Jocelyn Barnes, Eileen Boekstein, and Sprout “KFG” Foster-Goodrich presented students with an opportunity to express their values and concerns through poetry. A few were able to share these with fellow environmental activists and West Michigan residents.
WMEAC’s annual Mayors’ Grand River Cleanup was the perfect time for some of these workshop students to present their poetry pieces and voice a call to action to a widespread audience. Local Grand Rapids students shared their poetry, highlighting issues of climate change, environmental justice, and the significance of water on earth.
Caebre Baty is a young student many may relate to. Originally, he had little interest in participating in the We are Water workshop, feeling it was not something he would enjoy. After some time and engagement, Baty began to feel encouraged and attached as he became enlightened about the true beauty of poetry and the ability to express care for the environment through an art form.
As WMEAC’s Mayors’ Grand River Cleanup neared, Baty felt compelled to perform a recently written poem at the community event. He titled this piece after the workshop, utilizing analogies to strengthen his statement and remind the community that, like the oceans and lakes that generate waves and the rivers that flow, the human race exhibits similar functions. According to Baty, “We rise, we fall, and we flow. We, like water, encompass the planet and, as Baty remarks, have the power to “help be the change for a finer future.”
We are Water
By: Caebre Baty
We are water
We are pure
We create waves that happily rise up
Or crash and be mean
We flow through others with compassionate and loving statements.
We are water that comes from many different places,
But still we will have water everywhere.
Near and far
Water is pure
Water is free
Water is life
Which is you and me
Banner Photo of Caebre Baty, courtesy of Elaine Sterrett Isely