Bioregional Class: art projects and mapping projects

August 10, 2006

Last Wednesday the Bioregional Education Program students made their third and last “work of art”: a picture frame. They had a choice of plenty of materials such as colored paper, pieces of newspaper, rose petals, leaves, seeds, brilliant sparkles, etc. Kids were told to bring a personal photo but, aware that some of them were going to forget it, I remembered to bring a few postcards they could use instead.

I made two examples of picture frames to show them: the first one made by sticking rose petals, roses leaves and sparkles on a thick paper base, and the second by decorating paper with mangrove drawings. 

Most students preferred to reproduce the first option and they made really nicely decorated stuff. They told me it was the art activity they enjoyed the most and I could see that since they made almost three picture frames each!!! Moreover at the end of the lesson they did not want to leave the classroom…they wanted to make more picture frames.

Today we started the last topic of this first term: Bioregional Mapping. The section finding your own bioregion of the workbook “Discovering Your Life-Place” by Peter Berg had been previously translated into Spanish. 

First of all kids were asked to try to remember the meaning of the terms learned during the entire course such as bioregion, biosphere, ecosystem, watershed, soil, native species etc… and I must say the Bioregional Crosswords worked out since the basic concepts were still in their minds!

After a quick review, I explained that we were going to make a map of their own bioregion by following a few important steps. Kids coped with the activity quite well. Some had small troubles with the compass points but with the help of several examples they managed to understand. The hardest part was explaining how to draw the direction from which wind and rain usually come, since they were really lost! I had to help each kid individually by considering approximately where they were living and according to this we found out the direction of a breeze coming from the sea. Everybody drew the Pacific Ocean as the body of water nearest to the place where they live. Next they included Rio Chone (Chone River) and the hills nearby Bahia de Caraquez to create a watershed. The last step was including the different types of soils present in their bioregion. Students were familiar with drawing sandy soil by the seaside and a darker soil on the hills.

We are going to have a final class on Friday morning since kids are going on vacation. I am planning to finish the map. Next Monday we will go to Bella Vista to compare their drawings with their life-place. On Wednesday we have our last class with a small goodbye party since kids are going on holiday for two weeks and it is time for me to leave Ecuador…

Besos, Valentina

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