By Sarah Haghi, EcoArts Program Intern
Screaming and laughing as loud as they could, the children from DNDA and SHA’s High Point subsidized public housing spent a week running through Camp Long, exploring Seattle’s only urban campground. The kids that participated in DNDA’s Fusion Spring Nature Camp spent the whole week outdoors.
This Fusion Spring Nature Camp aims to put DNDA and SHA residents into nature for a week and to show them their creative potential through art. From April 9-13, the kids were taught a variety of arts from Nature Consortium teaching artists as well as from our wonderful partners at Camp Long. With nearly all their time spend outside, the kids ran through the forest and got dirty in the mud and water, completely immersed in nature.
“It was wonderful. Our kids enjoyed it. Every time they came home, they shared what they learned about nature and the camp. It’s a great experience for the kids to learn about nature… I hope to have the same program over the summer,” said Abrehet Semerab, mother of three of the children at the camp.
Painting and sketching were present nearly every day. Kids imagined animals and created backstories for them, drawing out their creations such as “sloth cat” and “spider cat”. They painted leaves and pine cones, and then stamped them into their sketchbooks, creating colorful and original natural paintings. Carving potatoes to create stamps was one of the kids’ favorite activities. They were taught the basics of photography and spent an afternoon on a scavenger hunt, practicing taking photos with different angles, lighting, and perspectives while racing to finish the hunt before the other kids. Camp Long instructors taught educational courses and took the kids rock climbing and dancing. With time to explore their personal interests including soccer, badminton, and jump-roping, the kids were never short of exciting activities to do in nature.
“I enjoyed creating an environment where kids felt free to express themselves,” said Megan Twamley, teaching artist at the camp. “Sometimes we as human beings need permission to be emotional, especially when in a group of peers. This is even more true for children. I’m so glad to have given them that life lesson – that emotions are good. Being able to provide a safe place for artistic expression while being surrounded by nature – that was nothing short of magical.”