Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Anim8Nature: A Beginning

Adult cicada  Wikipedia: Public Domain
Growing up on an old farm outside of Washington DC, I had access to 40 acres of fields, barns and woods. It was a time when kids wandered and explored for hours a day, especially in the summer. 

I first became aware of cicadas when I was in nursery school. My mom thought my siblings and I were poking holes in the yard, but then we all saw them emerge! I was fascinated by these creatures and then a little horrified when I realized how many there were in the yard.  We collected the nymph skins as they molted to their adult stage. We were generally obsessed with our new visitors.This was the first time I learned about life cycles and cicadas have an intriguing story to tell. That fascination with the natural world and life cycles has stayed with me all of my life.

Cicada nymph molting   Wikipedia: Public domain
Children today spend 50% less time outdoors than kids did even 20 years ago. I want to help children discover and explore the wonders of the natural world around us and experience the awe I felt as a kid (and still do). All life is connected; it's not always easy to see these relationships. We need all the environmental awareness we can harness and leave a living planet for those who come after us.

I am creating a web-based resource for teachers and kids 5 to 10 years old to inspire environmental stewardship. The foundation for Anim8Nature will be a series of short animated life cycles. Writing and art-making activities will explore concepts presented in the animations.  Animated documentary is about facts; writing and art-making are about creativity and imagination. Active learning experiences will be designed to stimulate critical thinking and deepen student understanding of who we are and our place on Earth. 

Stay tuned as I document my process, the resources I discover and see the animations as they come to life.

Kristin Reiber Harris

You can learn more about my work on my website

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