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Art Art Class Divine I Am Earth Education Existence Green Lifestyle Most Popular

Nature Mandalas

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6th graders went outside and created nature mandalas with our student teacher Anne Scott, which were inspired by Morning Altars artist Day Schildkret…

I have quite an unusual mission: To make impermanent earth art every day. Ever since I was five years old, I have been creating art with the flowers, leaves, berries, and bark right outside my front door. This has always been a way for me to feel connected, both to my imagination and the whole earth. About five years ago, after a big break-up with my partner, I started this as a daily mindfulness practice to heal my heart, help me feel gratitude, connect with the earth and make meaning in my life. However, this art wanted to have a life of its own. Over the last decade, I have created over a thousand small and large earth installations that have inspired an international movement of people to get outside and make earth art. I even have a book coming out this October! And, here’s the unique thing: Every single piece of art I have made no longer exists and that is its power: Learning how ephemeral life truly is and to love what is here right now.

Students watched a video where Day describes a little about the process of morning altars and how it can transform our perspective.  Then we went outside and walked the land to gather our own natural elements.  We also provided the students with flowers, beans and strings. My student teacher lead the students to create group nature mandalas!

This was such an awesome day for this assignment. The sun was shining and it felt like spring.  The outdoor classroom tables and benches that were created by George Washington Carver Center for the Arts students created were the perfect place for the groups to work.

Each team member of the group had to direct a specific ring of the mandala, sharing with the students how to place the materials.  I found that a few groups decided on all rings together, while others really stuck to the one ring per person.

When it was time to clean up, the students were sad and disappointed that they had to clean up their mandala. Taking a picture of their mandalas before they cleaned them, seemed to relieve their anxiety of having to disassemble it.

Check out the video we made!

 

Earth Month is off to a great start!!

<3

Categories
Art Class Divine I Am Earth Education Existence Green Lifestyle Most Popular Revealing Treasures in your Own Backyard

Caring for our Watershed

This year my green club students wrote proposals for a contest called Caring for our Watershed,

Turning ideas into environmental solutions!

The CARING FOR OUR WATERSHEDS program asks students to submit a proposal that answers the question, “What can you do to improve your watershed?” Students must research their local watershed, identify an environmental concern and draft a written proposal containing one realistic solution. Community judges select the top entries to compete at a final, verbal competition for cash prizes.

There were three proposals written and submitted, each part of a large project to turn our old ‘glen” area into an inviting and restorative outdoor classroom.  The Glen area is a large wooded area that is surrounded by our school and looks out over our athletic fields.  This area has 8 benches that are worn down and torn apart. My students see that there is so much potential in this beautiful space.

They created a proposal that restored our bluebird boxes and benches, build a pathway and secured trash cans in specific locations along the path, and created a rain garden near a storm drain at the bottom of the hill. These three proposals are completely feasible, it’s just a matter of funding and permission from the county school board.

We heard back from the company this week and we were not a finalist, however we did win $500 towards our ideas! This is so exciting because the projects are coming together on their own. Ridgely’s awesome assistant principal Matt Rosati has volunteered to build our bluebird boxes, and a couple salad tables, and now we have money towards starting our next step to completing our projects!

In addition to receiving $500 for our student project, we were invited to the Student Environmental Action Showcase on April 23rd, 2019 at George Mason University Center for the Arts from 10AM-2PM to participate in their poster presentation, network with peers, and participate in activities throughout the showcase.

There is also an opportunity to have funds matched for projects up to $1000!

I am so excited to see what we accomplish in the coming year!

<3

Categories
Divine I Am Earth Education Existence Revealing Treasures in your Own Backyard

Chesapeake Watershed Forum

Last weekend I had the privilege to attend the Chesapeake Watershed Forum at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown West Virginia, on the Potomac River.

 

A while back when I decided to take on the green school coordinator position for my school, I went into research mode so that I could find opportunities to learn more about what it means to be a green school. I found the forum through the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education.  It sounded very interesting and there was a scholarship being given so I registered and applied.  I received the acceptance email on my birthday!

I was very excited to be attending something new and getting to learn more about how I can help our water and our land. I never expected what the weekend actually had in store…learning, networking and new perspective on my life’s path.

I have always been drawn to the water, and earth. My grandmother was a woman of the earth… Ojibwe are plains Indians and spend a lot of time with the land so it runs in my blood. This weekend I really began to understand how land and water conservation is vital to protecting the ecosystems around us.

The NCTC has a beautiful campus, great facilities and delicious food! The staff was friendly, helpful and polite.

 

The forum is presented by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay along with many other amazing non-profits such as Chesapeake Bay Program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the National Park Service.

I received my scholarship from the Chesapeake Bay Trust,

The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a nonprofit grant-making organization dedicated to improving the watersheds of the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland Coastal Bays, and Youghiogheny River. Created in 1985 by the Maryland General Assembly, our goal is to increase stewardship through grant programs, special initiatives, and partnerships that support K-12 environmental education, on-the ground watershed restoration, community engagement, and the underlying science of these three realms. Through our grants, the Trust engages hundreds of thousands of students and volunteers in projects that have a measurable impact on the natural resources of our region.  Grantees include schools, local governments, community groups, faith-based groups, watershed organizations, and other not-for-profit entities.

 

I am so thankful for the opportunity to grow as an educator and as an earth conscious individual. I learned about testing water with ALLARM, surveying the areas around the water to look for specific things that tell if the water quality will be balanced. I also learned about MWEE’s, Environmental Education, and a lot of grants that are available! Shore Rivers and Anacostia Watershed were also there sharing their journey and progress with educating citizen scientists to amazing projects happening in Washington D.C.

 

The people who attended the forum were all very inviting and accepting. Everyone was really kind and open to sharing and helping. The networking at this forum was so beneficial and I think I’ve even made a few new friends.

 

There was a LOT of art here as well, which made me super happy! They had a “poster contest” to show off information about successful projects.

 

The forum started out with art, and cognitive mapping. We were each asked to create a map of the place that makes us want to work with conserving the land and water.  I drew the blue heron I see at Gunpowder Falls.

 

There were other small installations such as the #bethelight and #postsecret.

 

This was a great experience, there should definitely be more teachers in attendance, and it will be great to see more educational sessions next year! Thank you again to everyone for hosting and presenting such a wonderful forum.

Migwetch <3
Raine Dawn