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Let the River Run Silver Again! -Reviews

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Pre-Publication Reviews:

"In Let the River Run Silver Again! author Sandy Burk tells an inspiring story of how a great elementary school environmental education project deeply influenced the lives of young people by involving them in a hands-on project that combined real environmental restoration with public advocacy and learning science. Just as important, though, the author follows up the inspiration with a thorough recipe for teachers and students to research, design, and set up their own projects, anywhere in the United States. Sandy's subtitle says it all: How One School Helped Return the American Shad to the Potomac River -- And How You Too Can help Protect and Restore Our Living Waters. The Potomac, the other rivers of the Chesapeake Bay, and indeed, waterways all over the United States need programs like this one. Such first-hand education is an essential investment in the treasures that are our living waters, and in the young people who will become the stewards of them." - William C. Baker, President, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

"Let the River Run Silver Again!... demonstrates how student-led watershed restoration projects can help schools forge meaningful connections to their communities, connect kids to local cultural and natural history, and promote hands-on, real world learning experiences. This engaging book is chock full of good ideas, resources, and inspiration." - Pamela Michael, author and watershed educator, co-founder River of Words

"Sandy Burk's vivid story of a shad restoration project connects the passion of biologists with the enthusiasm of students through the persistent dedication of an elementary school teacher. Simply written and scientifically correct, this true documentary of a Potomac River project captures the excitement of the players and with the resources provided is a model any school can follow. Elementary or middle students or educators will be inspired to take the steps to improve local living waters, while making learning relevant. Like the future of the shad, our future environmental scientists will come from investing the effort like this now." - Lundie Spence, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence South East

"This tale of the return of shad to the Potomac River just goes to prove the old adage never to doubt that a small group of individuals can make a difference in our world and effect change. Ms. Burk's commitment to ensuring that the program continued throughout a number of years to show actual measurable change is an inspiration to us all. Don't let the focus on shad fool you, the lessons here run deep and the opportunities for replication innumerable. Let the River Run Silver Again! is a beacon to all those stewards searching for a way to make a meaningful contribution to today's world. The program is a replicable model that can be applied to a number of species, both aquatic and terrestrial. I encourage everyone involved with citizens groups, non-profits, school groups, volunteer groups of all ages, to pick up the book and explore a new captivating means to steward the lands and waters around them." - Alison McKechie, Director, NW Region, Pennsylvania Environmental Council

"An engaging and inspiring story of how an elementary school environmental project galvanized a watershed and brought back the silvery shad." - Dr. Ralph Eshelman, former director of Calvert Marine Museum

"This book makes a valuable contribution for schools and organizations interested in designing watershed protection and restoration programs. Both informative in an academic sense and useful to those who plan field and classroom curriculums, Sandy Burk's easy-to-read book captures the excitement of being a young ecologist. The book succeeds in brevity, clarity, and breadth, earning a spot on the desk for those involved in conservation project design." - Marguerite Duffy, Deputy Director for Education, Outreach & Communication, Coastal America

Book Reviews:

"Let the River Run Silver Again! is replete with abundant photos, a glossary, suggestions for projects, and resources for additional information and activities. Home schooled students, youth groups, educators, and students searching for fish-related project ideas should find something here. The story also offers encouragement and hope, not just for the shad, but for the river and our relationship to it." - Karen Ripple, Editor Chesapeake Tide

"Let the River Run Silver Again! is a conservation success story that follows a group of Maryland children through a school science project to restore American shad to the Potomac River. The focus is on the ecological and economic importance of the reintroduction of the shad into the Chesapeake Bay watershed. However, what became the heart of the project were the numerous benefits that occurred when the community, teachers, and students coalesced on a mission. With action-packed photographs and maps, Let the River Run Silver Again! makes a great manual for any conservation project. It even includes a seven-step outline for any group that plans to implement a similar restoration project." - Debbie Veliz, Book Reviewer, Izaak Walton League of America

"One of the best ways to get students interested in science is to show them how their actions can make a difference. This book presents a wonderful story about the involvement of elementary school students in restoring a fish, the American shad, to the Potomac River watershed. Filled with pictures of children learning science and enjoying it, this book gives teachers a great way to integrate science and social studies and to support critical thinking and decision-making.

The book describes a multiyear effort that started small--with just one class at one school--and grew to involve the students at 40 elementary schools in the area. The students' first focus was on releasing fish fry into the river, but this expanded into improving the environment through the planting of trees and bay grasses and maintaining raingardens. An important part of this effort was the construction of a notch in a dam and fish ladder to allow fish to swim upstream to spawn.

The book includes an epilogue, "reflections and considerations," a section listing seven steps to a successful project, a glossary, and a list of valuable resources. There is a brief mention of a Native American tribe, the Mattaponi, who were pleased to see the shad return and a picture of the chief with a big fish he caught. The epilogue describes how several of the students have gone into careers in science, writing articles and books about ecosystem restoration.

This is an exciting and valuable book, one that both students and teachers will enjoy reading. It lays out steps by which schools in any area can create similar programs to protect and restore their local environment. It should inspire many similar projects, something that would be great for both science education and the environment." - Donald Logsdon Jr., NSTA Online Instructor Review posted 11/8/05 at http://www2.nsta.org/recommends/product.asp?id=15930

"I would recommend [it] for middle school students as a good non-fiction book for literature and science classes. It would also be great for high school biology classes and ecology clubs, to give them ideas of projects they could implement in their own area. ... Here in the Great Lakes Region, many similarities exist to this fish and its situation. Mark Stephens, director of Michigan's Project Fish program had this to say: 'This is similar to what our KATCH program is -- Kids Are True Conservation Heroes. ... The neat thing about the book is it follows the school for a number of years to see the impact on the kids and the resource--a great example of how mentors can affect change locally through local partnerships.'" - Jeanne Henderson, Interpretive Guide, Chippewa Nature Center, Midland, MI. Excerpt taken from book review in National Association for Interpretation's region 4 Newsletter, March 10, 2006

"Let the River Run Silver Again!: How One School Helped Return the American Shad to the Potomac River--And How You Too Can Help Protect and Restore Our Living Waters by elementary school classroom teacher Sandy Burk is an informative and profusely illustrated exploration of the difference one school made to greatly impact the environment and nature of the Potomac River. Readers will learn that making a difference is not all that difficult as the pages inform them of the American's shad's history and what caused the species to leave in the first place. Let the River Run Silver Again! is a highly recommended reading (especially to the biology or environmental science teacher as a curriculum supplemental resource) and a welcome addition to any personal, school, or community library Environmental Studies reference collection or supplemental reading list." - James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review, March 2006