“EcoAdventures”: Day two

Our EcoAdventure group took some time to assemble, because several parents had to drop of their children at children’s programs. We had one new participant as well. So while we were waiting for everyone to assemble, we played another round of the Ecosystem Game, to help our newcomer learn other people’s names. (By now, I find myself calling people by their ecosystem name, e.g., OK, Katherine Kelp, are you willing to write all this down on the flip chart?)

Next, we put together very simple journals with paper and file folders and binder clips.

When everyone was present, we headed out to the same spot in a pine grove where we were yesterday. We did two sensory awareness activities. For the second activity, “Prickly Tickly,” the participants find two things, one that will be prickly and one that will be tickly, and then participants pair up to share their prickly thing and tickly thing with another participant. After everyone was done, I asked: Anyone want to show their prickly and tickly things? “This piece of bark was prickly on the outside, but it’s kind of smooth on the inside.” “I found this chunk of moss that was tickly. And it’s in the shape of a teardrop, which is kind of cool.” Any other insights? “They had pine needles as prickly things, but I had pine needles as tickly things.” “It depends on how you touched them to your hand.” “In our pair, we both had pine needles, but one of us said it was a tickly thing and the other said it was a prickly thing.”

Next it was time to choose favorite places, places where we will have time each day to sit in quiet and write or draw in journals (or just sit!). After about ten minutes, I called everyone back: How was it sitting alone? “I found that my mind wandered, I kept thinking about things I’m supposed to be doing.” It sounds like you think that’s bad? “I tried to not let my mind wander, and just focus on the outdoors.” Just so everyone knows, I don’t have an agenda for your alone time — it’s yours to do with what you will. But (turning back to the person who spoke), it sound like you have discovered your priority for alone time. Anyone else? “It was good!” “I realized how long it’s been since I had time alone.”

Anyone want to share something from their journal? “I drew a picture of some pine needles.” “I designed a dress for Emory, and drew a picture of it.” (Emory is the preschool-aged daughter of one of the participants.) One participant read a poem about being on the beach with a younger sister. Another participant read a haiku about learning how to drive.

Then it was time to start the big project (see below for a full description of the project). Because the group is so big, we split the group in two: one group was assigned to document and write about possible exclusivity in the Ferry Beach area (who gets to come here? what human groups are kept out?); another group was assigned to document and photo/video possible environmental disaster(s) in the Ferry Beach area. The two groups headed out to talk with people and look at the neighborhood, in pursuit of their two assignments.

We gathered back at our home base for a closing. It was clear that everyone needed more time to work on their respective projects, so we will continue the projects tomorrow morning.

For full session plan, see below…

Objectives for this session:
(1) Connecting ecology and human justice in ecojustice.
(2) Spiritual practice time.
(3) Sensory awareness activity.

Activity — Time for activity [elapsed time]

I/ Introduction — 20 minutes [20]
Opening by volunteer.
Go around circle, say name.
While we waited for some parents to drop off their children at child care, we played another round of the Ecosystem Game.

II/ Making journals — 10 minutes [30]

Pass out basic journal materials: sheets of paper, file folder, binder clip. This will be basic journal. You can make it fancier if you want (go to arts and crafts room) — design a cover, bind pages together, etc. Or you can use it just like this, for those of us who don’t need fancy stuff, and who want to be able to throw out pages.

III/ Sensory awareness activities — 20 minutes [50]

“360 Degree Sound” Lie on backs. Look up, up, up into infinity. When you find the highest thing visible, just stare in that direction without focusing on anything specific. Now start listening to the sounds around you — and the nice thing about listening while lying on your back is that you have a better sense of where things are — you can really hear just where the sounds come from. Try to hear as many different sounds as possible, remembering what direction the sound comes from. After 2-5 minutes, ask everyone to sit up. Ask everyone what sounds they heard, and where they come from.

“Prickly-Tickly” (borrowed from Steve Van Matre’s book Acclimatization.) Outdoors. Ask everyone to go and find one (natural) thing that is prickly, and one thing that is tickly. When participants come back, pair them up. Invite them to share their prickly thing and their tickly thing with the other person, by touching the things to the palm of a hand and the back of a hand. When done, process the experience: What were the prickly/tickly things? How many of you allowed the other person to touch the prickly/tickly things to your hand? How many chose to prickle/tickle yourselves? Any insights into what was prickly and what was tickly?

IV/ Favorite place

A/ Alone time — 15 minutes [1 hr. 5]

Alone time. “Take some time to find a pleasant outdoor space, where you will be able to sit and work in your journal. This is going to be a place that you return probably once a day, unless it’s raining out. And I’m going to insist that you be alone, and not close to a friend — I want you to engage in the spiritual practice of being alone outdoors. You should be within sight of our meeting space, or within earshot, so I can let you know when to return here.”

B/ Sharing time with whole group — 15 minutes [1 hr. 20]
How was it, spending time alone with a journal? What kinds of things did you think about? Anyone want to share what they wrote or drew?

BREAK — 10 minutes [1 hr. 30]

V/ “EFA”

Key Concept Statement: “Not all human creatures share their Earth home equally well.”

A/ Introduction to EFA — 10 minutes [1 hr. 40]

“We’re a reporting team for a hard-hitting, critical blog called “Ecojustice For All” — E – F – A, or “eefah” for short. We have a two-part mission:

“(1) Exclusivity. EFA-Amazon, the main blogger at EFA, has heard that Ferry Beach is an exclusive community that shuts out many human beings. She wants us to find out if that’s true, by observing the people we see, interviewing natives, and drawing on our own knowledge of the area (she knows that some of us have been coming to Ferry Beach for years). She has asked us to pay special attention to the presence or absence of historically marginalized communities such as racial minorities, non-English-speaking communities, low-income and poor people, sexual minorities, etc. She wants 2-3 paragraphs of snarky prose describing this.

“(2) Environmental degradation. The main blogger at EFA has heard rumors of ecological disasters happening in the Ferry Beach area, and she wants us to find out what those disasters are, document them, and find out which human communities contribute to those problems. She wants two minutes of hard-hitting video footage, or two photos, if we can get it.

“To help us document these two points, EFA-Amazon has suggested that we find out which creatures (including which human creatures) live at Ferry Beach year-round.”

B/ Reporting trip for EFA — 1hr. [2 hr. 40]

Start by brainstorming the knowledge the group already has. Split the group into two investigative teams:

(A) Writing team who work on assignment A above.

(B) Photo/video crew who work on assignment B above.

VII/ Closing circle — 5 minutes [2 hr. 45]

Quick plans on continuing the EFA project tomorrow and perhaps during afternoon and evening free time. Volunteer reads closing words.

Continue with Day Three.