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MAEOE 2020: The Shore

In February I had the pleasure of attending and participating in the 2020 MAEOE conference: Exploring Connections: Linking Nature, People, and Mindfulness.

The conference committee reached out and asked if I was interested in creating the logo for the conference, of course I said YES!  Art, nature, people, and mindfulness are all passions of mine. It was such a fun project to work on, and they asked me to create the logo again for next year’s convention: Climate, Nature, People and Education: It’s All Connected.

February 6-9, 2020, the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education brought together educators, resource personnel, scientists and researchers to share their experiences and ideas at the Princess Royale in Ocean City, MD. The weather was all rainy and cloudy most of the time, but we had a nice sunny day and a beautiful clear sky for a beautiful full moon.

The weekend began on Thursday with breakfast at the Bayside Skillet, it was delicious and hugemongous!  Perfect for keeping my fueled for the amazing Leopold Educational Program workshop. Peggy Eppig shared with us the land ethic and conservation education of Aldo Leopold.

Aldo Leopold was an American author, philosopher, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and is best known for his book A Sand County Almanac, which has sold more than two million copies.  

This full day workshop was full of learning and inspirational moments. We first went outside to the beach to spend time in nature. The beach provided a moment of clarity as well as discovery, of self and the world around me.

Learning about land ethics was a transformative moment for me. I am ever grateful for what Peggy shared with us that day.  I see another layer to my being and how it all connects to the path of knowledge of self.  Creative expression is simply a part of the whole. Our interconnectedness to all of creation is the energy, stewardship is the interaction of our connectedness…the product is beauty and love through creative expression.

Friday was a day of  hands-on sessions. One session I attended that day was taught me how to dye with natural plants. We experimented with cranberries, turmeric, and onions to name a few. I was excited to take it back to school and share it with my students!

Friday was also full of social time! I love that MAEOE schedules in time for us to network and mingle. We had lunch, a first timers meeting, and happy hour! I also created a banner for people to fill in with their intentions for the conference! It turned out so cool!

Fridays field experience was a trip to the Indian River Lifesaving Station. That place showed me the shore in a whole new light.

Saturday sessions were jam packed and the exhibit hall was super busy. There was a silent auction in which I won a few things!  Then we had a social dance costume party in the ballroom. MAEOE had an Eco Superhero contest that Ridgely entered! My green club students turned me into Rainebow Earth Brite! The kids made everything from recycled materials! My motto was I turn litter into glitter and trashy into flashy! We didn’t win the contest, however it was SUPER fun!

I left on Sunday after a morning meditation.

The shore gave me clarity and peace, to my center and on my journey in this life.

 

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2019

This year has been so abundant.

So much packed into one year.

The beginning of 2019 started off with learning more about the local connections with environmental organizations on my area, experiencing my first Maryland Association of Outdoor and Environmental Education conference, and recertifying my school as a Maryland Green school! We also were awarded two grants for environmental education projects! I also took the green club on a field trip to Sandy Point state park for a green school celebration! One of the best field trips ever.

 

In March I attended the National Art Education Association convention in Boston. I visited and fell in love with two new museums, the Isabella Gardner Museum and MFA. I learned the importance of networking and sharing who I am with others and found my place with the Caucus on the Spiritual in Art Education.

 

The spring was busy with my student teacher from Towson, who accepted a job this year! We also had our schools annual Arts in Action event!

 

Summer came and my intuitive henna took off. Sharing my gifts with many, some even had their designs become a permanent part of their lives.

 

I painted “en plein air,” at Cromwell Valley park with BCPS teachers.  It was such an awesome experience, and I am so looking forward to it again this coming summer.

I also attended an AVID one day intensive training, where I learned a lot about different ways to teach students, that I have been using this year! I am excited to say that I was asked to attend the week long training this summer 2020.

Working for St. Paul’s summer camp this year was a new experience… all camps combined, in a new location. It was a wonderful summer with amazing coworkers and campers! Visiting Irvine Nature Center and the Senator Theater were some of my highlights!

Then August came… with a bang. Breaking my wrist 2 weeks before school started for the new year. This was by far one of the most testing time for me. Testing my faith and trust that I have the power within to heal and come back stronger than before. Testing my sense of self…. am I my right hand? As an artist I began asking myself, does my identity come from my hands? Can I create even if my hands don’ work the same as they always have? This was a powerful time for a deep dive within.

I healed faster than the doctors have seen from a 30 year old. The whole process from break to out of cast took 6 weeks, and the doctor was so surprised at the amount of healing that occurred. My mobility was about 90% back to normal! I attribute my healing to my mindset, words and movement. I constantly used healing words over broken words. I visualized my wrist healing and strengthening. I stretched and stretched, and slowly got back into yoga, and stretched and stretched.

My 12th year of teaching began and I became an adjunct professor at Notre Dame of Maryland University, teaching Methods in Secondary Art Education. This was a huge milestone for me and my own self awareness. I love sharing my passion for teaching and art, especially with other passionate teachers. It was such a blessing to teach this course.

The workload for 2019 was intense, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. So much growth. Like a seedling, breaking through the concrete. Learning when to rest and when to reach. Realizing the activeness of balance. Balance in work, life, love, relationships, creating and resting. The balance of self care and self growth.

2019 was an abundant, and it was beautiful to watch the balance unfold.

Thank you to everyone who shared in this past year with me. I am forever grateful for you. <3  Excited and open to receiving all that this new year has in store.

Migwetch and Gizagiin

Raine Dawn

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Full STEAM Ahead

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I recently attended the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education annual conference in Towson Maryland. This was my first MAEOE conference, and I’m excited to bring more teachers next year!

The conference theme was Full Steam Ahead, Expanding the Potential of Environmental Education.  It was wonderful to see so much integration between the arts and sciences.

I attended a painting workshop, where we talked about how to create art as an expression of ourselves, while learning techniques to be successful in the aesthetics of the artwork.

The Watershed Charter school executive director Jessie Lehson presented Growing Art through Farming, the intersection of art and agriculture. We learned to make pastels from rocks, and cut turkey feathers into quill pens.

There was an amazing presentation called When Wonder Wins, discussing how important it is to intentionally incorporate wonder into our lives.  In doing so, we are role models for our students so that they too will use the world around them to be inspired to keep growing and following their passions.

I really enjoyed the Earth Powers and Forest bathing lightening session.  Two sessions in one hour, where we discussed allowing kids to explore nature and tap in with their creative mind. We also discussed how to take moments our of our day to spend time in nature mindfully noticing our reactions and responses to outside stimuli.

Restorative Practices was by far the best session I attended, and all of the session I went to were amazing.  Dave Dahl,  from NorthBay Adventure Camp, spoke about using restorative practices and teaching out children using the M.A.E.C.E. method. Mindfulness, Awareness, Empathy, Compassion, and Engage. We participated in hands on team building activities to build relationships with one another in our 2 hour session. We discussed the self determination theory, Carl Rogers, and Dr. Dan Siegel who wrote The Whole-Brain Child.

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This conference was a wonderful learning experience and I am excited about next year!