“I climb the irregular boughs of an ancient oak feeling the rough bark etching time under my hands… I go, searching the wide, wide world… “

In the poem, “I go,” 11-year old Eddy Binford of Salem, an Oregon State Fair prize-winning poet, describes her experiences in places as varied as the crowded streets of Shanghai, the dilapidated shacks of a South African township, the dancing water of a Czech Republic city fountain.

Binford has been every place she names, from the oceans of Hawaii to the sand dunes of Namibia.  She travels with her family, mostly because of her mother, Warren Binford’s, work.  Professor Binford is director of Willamette University clinical law program and lectures and researches internationally, primarily on civil rights and children’s rights issues.

“I like to see diffferent parts of the world,” Binford says.  “I like meeting new people.  We’re all people, so in some way we’re the same, but were all kind of different, too, because we each adapted to our surroundings.”

Binford has created books of photographs of her travels.  In one, she stands among laughing children in a South African shanty town.  Many of the local children rest a hand on her head, “because they loved my red hair,” Binford says, smiling.

A student at Salem’s Heritage School, Binford has been writing poetry for years and can’t count the poems she’s created.  She says the medium of poetry allows her the space to express things that would be difficult to speak out loud.  “You get time to think with poems,” she says, “more time to think it over and find out what you really want to say.”

Eddy Binford will be featured at the new earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 11, Called “Earth 411”. This event is sponsored by the City of Salem, and Straub Environmental Center. She’ll be reading, “I go” aloud.

She’s a big fan of Earth Day.  “I think the world is really beautiful,” she says.  “There are so many things we can treasure… Conservation is important, because if you don’t preserve the planet, then eventually all the trees will be gone.  I want people in the future to experience the world I have, in all its beauty.  If there aren’t any flowers and animals and bees, then we don’t have anything, really.”