Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Audubon Arts Becomes a Program of GAAH

This September our fall programs kicked into gear, and we are delighted to share the enthusiasm of our students. In addition to continuing our existing programs, we have added a few fresh ones like Pom Dance and a Family Portrait Drawing class, opening the door to new possibilities for neighborhood families.

Audubon Arts is also new this year. This unique collaboration with Junior Audubon Grand Rapids teaches neighborhood youth the art of birds and nature. Thanks to GAAH’s Volunteer Coordinator and Administrative Assistant Bethany Sheffer, this program is available to members of the Audubon Club as well as neighborhood children. The hour-long class that meets once a week introduces youth to a variety of environmental topics through drawing, painting, and mixed media which allow the youth to study nature while tapping into their creativity. Along with artists and conservationists, students go on field trips to local nature centers and parks, introducing them to larger community-based projects such as Celebrate Urban Birds, International Migratory Bird Day, and the Junior Duck Stamp Program.

Studies show that race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status play a substantial role in how often youth spend time in and are exposed to nature. The Audubon Arts program builds the capacity for youth from our neighborhood and beyond to have greater access to green space, nature trails, and educational programming at nature centers. It is our hope that this will allow our students to find meaningful connections to the environment, leading to a greater likelihood that they will defend and care for it in the future.  

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