Today I had the great pleasure to step WAY out of my comfort zone and into local civic action. Long-story-short, myself and a band of local misfits from all different backgrounds and voting habits have formed a coalition to stand and speak against the building of a new and needless section of interstate through sacred desert wilderness areas (see pic below). In an effort to grow the coalition we asked to present at the Pasqua Yaqui Nation’s Tribal Council meeting. Like I said, WAY out of our comfort zones. But, science and art helped us advocate and share our story.
Using a combination of scientific facts accompanied by photographic and sculptural art we were able to be ourselves and tell our story. The art helped the science be more human and the science helped the art be even more meaningful. I wish I had thought to bring some students along so they could learn from our civic actions. Biodiversity PEEK STEAM lessons are designed to teach kids biological and social advocacy through the doing their own local projects.
The sculptural piece I gifted (see zoomed-in pic above and dis-articulated pic below) to the Pasqua Yaqui Tribal Council is titled Peyote Flower in Gringo Dream. Peyote (Lophophora diffusa) is a slow-to-mature cactus found in a few wild spots in Northern Mexico. It has a hallucinatory chemistry and a deep cultural significance for many native North American tribes for over 5,500 years. Because it is illegal to cultivate and because of over-harvesting by Americans, Europeans, Chinese and Russian tripping-tourists and because of destructive foreign (Canada!) silver mining companies peyote is at risk of extinction. When I learned that the Yaqui recognize 5 worlds (Desert Wilderness, Mystical, Flower, Dream, and Night) I felt that the sculpture I created belonged in their hands.
Check out our website for lessons and tool kits that help you and your STEAM kids be active local advocates for change!