Working with kids


“Mr. Turtle gets sick and other animations: stories that kids can tell”

I like to make animations with kids. First, I write a short children’s story dealing with an environmental issue. Then, I find a class of kids to help illustrate, narrate, and animate it. These steps require kids to use reading, advanced computer, and math skills. However, the kids almost universally think animating is really cool, and don’t notice all the skills they are being forced to practice. They see first-hand the fruits of teamwork, and engage deeply with environmental issues and careers. The local community is invited to the viewing party of the final film, which is then uploaded online, available to anyone with Internet. I try to include kids of all races, all national origins, all economic levels, including refugees, and I hope these projects are a way to build trust and harmony.

As of October 2018, I am funded by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and American Geophysical Union, and partnering with the Walt Disney Family Museum for this project. You can read all my updates about the project here.

Check out how it all started, “Mr. Turtle Gets Sick”, below, and check out all the other cool concoctions the kids have made here.

I wrote a reflection from some of these activities here: “From the Donkey to the Birch”.

Another reflection here: The making of Mr. Turtle gets sick.

Youth Water Trustees in Jordan

I spent summer, 2014, in Jordan as an intern with EcoPeace (Friends of the Earth Middle East). While there, I was able to partake in a training for Jordanian youth – teaching them how to become environmental leaders within their rural communities. The training took place at a beautiful Ecopark. While there, I recorded the youth giving a tour of the park, and then, I guided two of them in editing all the footage into a film, which you can watch here:

An essay of my time at this Ecopark.

After-school program in Maryland

While working in Maryland, I spent about 2 years doing weekly after-school programs with a local agency. I developed and taught the lessons, all of which were hands-on activities dealing with nature, exploration, or computer skills. I worked with LeeAnn Hutchison, a local educator. She is one of the best teachers I have ever met. I was so so lucky to get to watch and learn from her!!!