Author pens educational resource for Rivers Institute

The Rivers Institute at Hanover College has partnered with Butler Books to publish a new work it hopes will become a leading educational resource used to teach children about rivers.

“River Life, A Journey From Headwaters to the Sea,” by Marianne D. Wallace began two years ago when Rivers Institute Executive Director Larry DeBuhr approached the nature-related author with the project.

"We’re very interested in helping younger people understand the importance of rivers,” explained DeBuhr. “I’m very excited about finally seeing the book printed and being able to share it.”

The original idea involved a book on the Ohio River, but Wallace wanted to broaden the scope, starting where the Ohio begins with the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania.

“I (believed) the story would be better told if we started at the headwaters where the Ohio really begins and follow it to the end to where the Ohio ultimately, after it joins the lower Mississippi, dumps into the Gulf of Mexico,” she said.

The book includes details about river life, its history, and the animals and plants living in and around it, all colorfully illustrated by the author. 

“It’s what you would see if you floated down the river. I wanted a book that was not only a resource that could be used just to learn, but also that maybe encourages  kids, teachers, people, to go out and experience the river and then go, ‘Oh, wow!’”

For DeBuhr, the book does exactly what he’d hoped, furthering the Institute’s goal of educating the public about rivers and river issues, going beyond just the scientific aspects, and including history and culture.

It follows previous works by the Institute, including a documentary on Anna and Harland Hubbard and a book on the first steamboat on the Ohio River. DeBuhr said there’s more to come, too, with another book later this year.

“The title, at least right now, is ‘Heroes of the Falls,’” he said. “It’s a story on the lifesaving station at the Falls of the Ohio set up in the mid to late 1800’s.” 

That story also has a very interesting connection to William Shakespeare Hays, a noted and prolific poet and lyricist of his day. Often compared to Stephen Foster, he attended Hanover before the Civil War broke out in 1861. 

Purchase or learn more about “River Life, Journey From Headwaters to the Sea.”