Wednesday, March 13, 2013

THE GUARDIAN ANGEL PROJECT: Empowering Children to Be Environmental Stewards Through Sea Camp and Artwork

REFLECTING ABOUT NATURE USING ART! This San Sal Sea Camper represents the reverence with which the children engaged in their Guardian Angel Project. Look at the extent to which he studied the spiny lobster before painting it. (photo by Hallelujah Truth, San Salvador, Bahamas 2008)

Hallelujah for our beautiful Earth, the children who are its future caretakers, and the use of imagination! I just returned from the very first National Natural History Conference of the Bahamas during which along with Sandy Voegeli, I presented how we can use SONG, STORY, ART to develop environmental stewardship in children. Below I share part of our presentation with you dear fellow spiritual art pilgrims!
THE COMPLETED GUARDIAN ANGEL ARTWORK! We all need to get out in nature and connect with its awesomeness and mystery. Once we are connected with the ocean, the land, or sky, we can see that we are a part of this Earth, hence have a role in its evolving history. (photo by Hallelujah Truth, San Salvador, Bahamas 2008)

BEGINNING STAGES OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL PROJECT. First, children need to become familiar with their environments. In this case, the children of San Salvador's Sea Camp had spent the morning in the ocean learning how to swim and snorkel. After lunch in the Gerace Research field station, they spent the afternoon asking questions about what they had seen, researching it in books, and then studying a photo of a creature or plant that fascinated them. They used pencils on simple newsprint folded in six sections to draw six images. (photoS by Hallelujah Truth, San Salvador, Bahamas 2008)
ENVISIONING THEMSELVES AS A GUARDIAN ANGEL. The next stage of this Guardian Angel project required the Sea Campers to think inventively and with inspiration. What would they look like as a protector of one the creatures or plants they had chosen? Would they become part of the creature? Would their skin or clothes carry or reflect the pattern of that creature? They were asked to consider this question: "Who are you in relation to this creature or plant?" (photos by Hallelujah Truth, San Salvador, Bahamas 2008)

DEVELOPING STAGES OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL PROJECT. On this third day of the project, the Sea Campers had the fun of learning about the color wheel and deciding what colors they wanted their final image to have. They used crayons to experiment with possible color combinations of cool and warm colors. They were given permission to deviate from the colors of nature and to think with their hearts, to follow their intuitions to make a unique image that would hold their commitment to the environment. Once having decided on the colors, they dove in to painting using acrylics and paint brushes! (photoS by Hallelujah Truth, San Salvador, Bahamas 2008)
PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL PROJECT. On the final day of Sea Camp, the children spoke as environmental stewards. They spoke publicly as protectors of something specific in nature, explaining its habitat, why it was endangered, and their role in protecting it. (photo by Hallelujah Truth, San Salvador, Bahamas 2008)

STORIES OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL PROJECT. How exciting it was to read the stories they had written on the back of their paintings. Phrases such as, "I want to protect" and "this animal is endangered" were exciting to see.(photos by Hallelujah Truth, San Salvador, Bahamas 2008)
PROTECTING THE NURSE SHARK: THE GUARDIAN ANGEL PROJECT. I was particularly pleased to have the Sea Campers "see" how unique and special each one of them is. Here the same animal--the nurse shark--was chosen to be protected but the vision of the Guardian Angel Sea Camper was different! No need to copy or imitate! Having the children explore nature in many different ways--real and imaginary, helps them to integrate the concept of nature and their responsibility to the environments they live in. Both HEART and MIND have been engaged, and this is a powerful combination!(photo by Hallelujah Truth, San Salvador, Bahamas 2008)
In conclusion dear fellow journeyers and pilgrims, I have two questions for you: 

What action will you take today or in the future to protect the natural environment in which live? 

What creature or plant do you want to be the Guardian Angel of? 

Soul Blog your answers with me at Coffee with Hallelujah!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to the National Bahamian Trust for planning and hosting this magnificent event, which resulted in this powerpoint presentation (of which you have seen a portion here). The first National Natural History Conference was inspirational and informative. Thanks to the Gerace Research Centre and its field station manager Thomas Rothfus for facilitating five years of Sea Camp. Hallelujah for the children of San Salvador and their parents who participated in the first San Sal Sea Camp with enthusiasm. Great appreciation to BREEF and its facilitators who are incredible teacher trainers and knowledgable lovers of the marine and terrestrial habitats. Mucho thanks to Sandy Voegeli, who continues to amaze me with her resourcefulness, imagination, and stamina. It is because of her and her mission for the environment that I keep returning to the Bahamas. And I must always thank my wonderful dear husband Chiboogamoo, aka Tony Martin, for his endless support and encouragement. 

Other Blog Entries About Sea Camp on San Salvador:

August 2012

COLORING THE MAP FROM THE STORY OF MARIA THE HUTIA. (photo by San Salvador, San Salvador, Bahamas 2012)


  1. Wow! Welcome back. All this art and the concept behind what you all were doing there is exciting. I especially love Deontae and Kevinya's work. If I were a guardian angel, I would be protecting the songbirds around Decatur. My protector wings would be multicolored and I'd wear a crested feather cap and a pointy yellow beak (held on by elastic). Ha-Ha

  2. Dear FRIEND and FELLOW ART PILGRIM, I laughed with joy when I read your description of being the protector of songbirds! I encourage you to create this costume and I will make one for myself! Do you want to do it?

    I also love Deontae's very thoughtful artwork!