Monday, March 5, 2018

Artist's Intuition Meets Science Fact

Falling Leaves

I love watching leaves falling. I created this short animation last Fall to celebrate this annual event. In the process, I researched why leaves fall. Something I had never really questioned just happened. Turns out, trees release their leaves because they are a liability during winter. Maybe everybody else knows this, I just had not wondered. I was too caught up in enjoying the show.

I believe my anecdotal experience indicates that focusing on even brief phenomena in the natural world can generate questions and substantive learning experiences. A new resource is providing evidence from science educators that this is true.


My stumbling onto the North American Association for Environmental Education website, via Twitter was a very fortuitous event. I am discovering a treasure trove of opportunities and resources for my project Anim8Nature, helping children connect to nature.

Online Resources

I found this video about Next Generation Science Standards and realized it was putting a name/process to what I have been doing intuitively with the animated documentaries in Anim8Nature. I want children to focus in a manageable time frame on something that is happening in their world and wonder what in the heck is going on. That is step one in sparking the investigation and exploration at the heart of

ee360 Fellowship Program

I am thrilled at the possibility I can be an active participant in the mission of the NAAEE. 
I recently submitted my application for the NAAEE ee360 Fellowship Program,  one of the opportunities I discovered on their website. Each fellow accepted into the program receives support for their work, including professional development and leadership training with a focus on environmental education, and more. A five-day Leadership Institute in July and attendance at the NAAEE conference in October are also included. 

The applicant must submit a specific program they want to implement and indicate potential partners. I included the Anim8Nature workshops as my project. It is a way to have direct impact on students and families, giving kids hands-on experience exploring science with art. I want to learn more about best practices in environmental education and successful programs similar to Anim8Nature. I am also seeking funding to make these workshops available free of charge.

Claytor Nature Study Center ©LynchburgCollege
Claytor Nature Study Center

In reaching out to potential partners for the workshops, I contacted the Lynchburg Public Library and I re-connected with Greg Eaton, Director of the Lynchburg College Claytor Nature Study Center . Greg helped me establish a relationship with the Virginia Association for Environmental Education. I look forward to working with all of these organizations. The Fellowship would offer an array of opportunities that would significantly increase my knowledge and effectiveness as an activist artist and environmental educator.

Moving Forward

I am very excited about becoming an active member of NAAEE and VSAEE, interacting with  a growing resource of educators and scientists and learning more about the best practices of environmental education. I also look forward to sharing my skills as a artist, active observer of the natural world, educator and media producer. Artists and scientists working together for the benefit of all.

How are you using art to explore science in your classroom or with your children?

What tips and tricks are you finding that help children connect with the natural world?

Learn More about Animating Nature & Science

Learn more about my work and my current project, on this blog and our website. I have assembled a team of experts to create media, lesson plans and workshops to help students and families explore science with art. We want to spark curiosity and get kids outside as environmental stewards.

Here are some links to other tech/art/science workshops that may be of interest.

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