Riverbox of the Sun was created by Ron Hirschi, Mary Sheridan, and participants in Dublin Arts Council Summer Teacher Institute in 2007.
Clues provided by children’s author, biologist and Riverbox artist
To find Riverbox of the Sun follow the old trail along the river, now paved. Once, this highway was a bison trail. The buffalo traveled along the Scioto River just as you do – to find a place to eat, sleep, or even to play. Buffalo moved up and down the river, and had a special fondness for certain tributaries of the main river. Quite a ways south of here, near Jackson, Ohio the buffalo carved even deeper trails into the earth as they moved up and down Salt Creek to find the “licks” where they nourished their bodies with precious minerals, including salt.
Your journey along the river trail should lead along the same side as the Salt Creek tributary, the side of the morning sun. Not that long ago, Wyandot People walked this river until, like so many First Peoples of America, they were removed to make way for white settlers.
Morning sun rays might lead you to your next stop. Please park and walk to where art livens Dublin all year long.
Don’t stop long where the grand old home is now a place of art. Instead, search these grounds up and down and take a leisurely stroll in the direction of the setting sun. Walk down the hill and look to the south. Now a private home, the neighboring land was once the Corbin Mill where farmers from up and down the river came to have their grain ground into flour by the millstone turned by the waters of the Scioto.
Walk a bit along the riverbank and imagine the need to wait for the river to grind your wheat before you could eat your morning toast. Now that we have so much more free time, sit by the water’s edge and watch for bluegills and darters, herons and ducks. Once in a while an eagle might fly by.
Turn from the river’s side and look up the hillside. You will see the leaves that fell to the river. There behind you in the Scioto’s strong currents, tiny insects chomp those leaves. The food web flows downstream. But it all began with the rising sun and you will only need to follow its rays to the base of what was once the grandest tree in sight to find your prize.
Riverbox of the Sun Artist and Credits:
(information provided by artist Ron Hirschi)
Riverbox of the Sun was created during the Summer Teacher Institute: Integrated Curriculum and The Ripple Effect, hosted by the Dublin Arts Council. Collaborators were many, including people you will see while shopping for groceries in Dublin, picking up your children from school, or passing by as you motor along Riverside Drive.
Mary Sheridan, Angela Kalb, and Cheryl Knox, artists and art teachers from the greater Columbus area, were the primary artists involved in construction of the physical Riverbox. Biologist and author Ron Hirschi had a hand in the box design and in creating the copper embellishments. Hirschi also wrote a story just for Riverbox of the Sun, which you can find in the Riverbox vessel. Kirk Hilbrands, a history teacher at New Albany High School, influenced the design greatly with his spiraling creations during the summer workshop that led to the box ‘s creation.
Maggie Argiro inspired the tributary additions to the project, a contribution of significance we hope you will ponder. Like the roots of a tree, tributaries are the lifeblood of a river. You can trace the path of the tributaries of the Scioto on a detailed map of Ohio. In Dublin and nearby communities, the river picks up significant stream flow from the Olentangy, Indian Run, and Alum Creek tributaries.
To the north, Rush Creek and Mill Creek near Marysville feed its waters. And to the south and west, one of America’s most precious waterways, the Darby, adds a great deal of life to the Scioto. Named one of the top rivers in our country by the conservation group, American Rivers, The Darby contains some of the highest diversity of life forms in North America.
Before the Scioto weds its waters with the Ohio, it receives flows from historic streams such as Salt Creek. By reading a list of other Scioto tributaries, the stories of America unfold in their names – Beaver Creek, Pigeon Creek, and Sunfish Creek, which tell of the incredible abundance of fish and wildlife that once fed or clothed most people living in the Ohio River Valley.
The little sunfish, the beavers, and all other life forms within and along the river have been greatly diminished over time. But they can and will return if we have the desire. Life in and along water is the most precious natural resource in our country. Like clean air, clean water is needed for all life. When the millstone turned grain into flour, people must have come to the riverbank to enjoy the stream. They certainly swam and fished and watched the birds overhead.
It’s up to us to do the same. But our working tools are no longer millstones. And so we might use our computers, our art, our words, and other tools to restore the river. You are encouraged to take a trip up and down its shores to learn more about river life and ecology. The Scioto and its tributaries are some of America’s most precious natural resources. Some of these waters are healthy, many are not. To help the entire watershed will take many years. To help a small part of the Scioto and its many streams, you might plant a tree along the banks of a pond, small stream or river. Your action will help the sun nourish the leaves that feed the life flowing on downstream.
Riverbox of the Sun was created through the DAC Summer Teacher Institute in June 2007, which was offered through Ashland University, was underwritten by the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation and received additional support from the Ohio Department of Education.