Art&Nature Series, Huntley Meadows Park

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I'm a 20-year park naturalist with the Fairfax County Park Authority working at Huntley Meadows Park. I teach the scouts, birding groups, and school classes at all levels about the natural world, and do all art instruction and technical drawing. I illustrated the "Guide to Dragonflies' that we published in 2012: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/press/pr2012/psa084-12.pdf  About the project: I believe in the effectiveness of art as a tool to teach science. Science is often taught as a lab-based subject, filled with bunsen burners and dissection, which can alienate many artistic, humanities-oriented, students. Most people feel a connection to the natural world which is frequently not tapped in school science settings. Art is a perfect portal into enhanced observation and treats the natural world with respect. It is also a terrific, non-language based, format to learn science for ESL children and families.  I would like to request $1,000 in funding for the purchase of field art kits to use in nature journaling workshops and camps at Huntley Meadows Park during spring-summer 2015. I make this request on behalf of the Friends of Huntley Meadows Park, a 501(c)3 which supports educational programming http://www.friendsofhuntleymeadows.org.   I created an Art&Nature sketchbook series and did a successful Kickstarter campaign (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1166596/artandnature-series-at-huntley-meadows-park) and received a grant from the Target Foundation's art education fund: https://corporate.target.com/corporate-responsibility/grants/arts-culture-design-in-schools-grants   I purchased nearly 200 field art kits with the funding and taught 10 Nature Journaling classes, 2 camps, and one home-schooling science class using art as nature-study. The funding is for field art kits that the students keep; I'm paid by the park authority.    http://diydelray.com/2013/08/19/diy-kids-nature-journaling-at-huntley-meadows-park/   Our largest class was with the Casa Chirilagua Kids' Club in late September. We hosted 53 children who received art/nature instruction and a field art kit to keep: http://www.casachirilagua.org/kudos-club/   We want these students to see the park as their own natural backyard classroom, using the art kits again, and again. (You cannot protect what you don't love, and you won't love what you do not notice). We hope to cultivate this love for nature within our own neighborhood through art. I'm currently teaching Art&Nature science and drawing classes to Alexandria City children within the Casa Chirilagua summer programs and Kids' Club, and the Delray Artisans' Summer Art camp, using funding received through the RunningBrooke Fund: http://www.actionalexandria.org/challenge/caring-kids-idea-challenge     How I will use the money:   I will spend the $1,000 to purchase 70 field art kits to be used in 4 Art&Nature winter sketch workshops (40 total participants) and 2 Artist-Scientist summer camps 2015 (30 participants).   Each field art kit includes:   *bound sketch journal *watercolors *brush *pencil *eraser *sharpener *magnifier   How will you measure the success of your project? : Written surveys requesting feedback, critique, and participant zipcode, to ensure local participation.   We hope also to see students again and again in the park, using the sketchbooks.   School science curricula offer limited chances to connect with, or treat respectfully,  nature and natural ecosystems because the classes are indoors, human-focused, and within a structured setting. By contrast, many people report being inspired to study science after long forest hikes, fishing, birdwatching, building a tree-house, dip-netting in a pond, or seeing dolphins at the beach. These casual encounters with living ecosystems form the intro to science study that is currently dismissed by typical school-science curricula. I hope to teach science via creative respect for the natural world through observation and art.    

Comments

I vote for Margaret and Huntley Meadows

What better teacher than someone who believes in her subject and is remarkably knowledgeable.  

Good Luck, Margaret!

Thanks, Margaret, for all your efforts.  You, and the classes you have taught, are great! 

thanks everyone!

thanks everyone!

Huntley Meadows grant proposal

A wonder-ful way to inspire a sense of wonder for kids.

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