Students connecting the bays
June 10, 2015
On May 12, VCU Graphic Design professor and VCU Rice Rivers Center’s artist in residence, Laura Chessin, began a quest to tell the story of connections. Accompanied by Wyatt Carpenter, graduate student in the Center for Environmental Studies, Chessin has launched a blog to help track their journey from Virginia to Panama.
As part of a Community Engagement grant co-authored with Cathy Viverette, Lesley Bulluck and Ed Crawford, this trip is an effort to continue to make connections between the people and resources of Panama and Virginia. Chessin notes, “As we connect cultures, we emphasize that we share resources and conservation challenges. Protection of habitat for the Prothonotary Warbler—the bird that is at the center of all of these Panama-Virginia projects— and the many species of plants and animals living throughout their ecosystems is important to nearby communities. Things important to avian communities are important to human communities — essential things for quality of life: clean water, healthy habitat, good food sources, and sustainable livelihoods.”
Since 2010, TEAM Warbler has been working with students from Chesterfield and Goochland Middle Schools learning about the Prothonotary Warblers and the critical wetland habitats that sustain them here in Virginia. During the summer of 2014, Chessin featured students from Goochland Middle School exploring the Chesapeake Bay along with VCU researchers in her film “From BaytoBay”. This year she returned to Panama to tell the story of middle and high school students exploring the critical mangrove habitats fringing Panama and Chame Bays. They began the journey by starting with middle school students at Sabot Stony Point, gathering notes, drawings and stories from the students and a teacher by way of introducing themselves to the students with whom they would connect in Panama.
This summer, Chessin will take the footage collected on their journey and use it to further tell the story of the Warbler project, the mangrove preservation and restoration efforts, sustainability and the human connections being made across the sea.
Click here to access the blog: https://studentsconnectingthebays.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/hello-world/