Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Next Generation Project: Defense Scheduled

If you are curious about what I've been doing in school for the last three years, come on down to Utah's campus next Tuesday to check it out.

The Next Generation Project is a pilot leadership development program for grassroots leaders interested in the environment and other progressive social change.

If you are really interested in this pilot project, feel free to click on the poster image above, which will take you to my new website where you can download the whole paper and learn more about the participants.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Thursday, October 23, 2008 Contact: Chris Peterson
(801) 232-3226


SALT LAKE CITY – Students from Dilworth Elementary School in Salt Lake City will visit Tracy Aviary on Friday to learn about birds and the environment, hone their artistic skills, and get a civics lesson from Mayor Ralph Becker – and hopefully raise a little money for good causes in the process.
The students are members of Dilworth PTA’s after-school Art Explorer Club, which is directed by Art Specialist Chris Peterson. They will enjoy an educational bird show at the Aviary, and then use what they learn to make beautiful bird masks at the Aviary’s Chase Mill. This community arts event is made possible by generous contributions from Great West Institute, Utrecht Art Supplies, Biaggi’s Italian Restaurant and the UMFA Education program.
The masks will be placed on display at the Historic Chase Mill, where they can be purchased via silent auction between this Friday night and next weekend’s Halloween night. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Dilworth PTA Arts budget or to Tracy Aviary or – the students will ultimately decide how the funds are distributed.
As the kids are working on their masks, they can expect a visit from a local political celebrity – Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. He will participate in the mask-making activities before providing a brief civics lesson and discussion on the value of volunteerism and providing assistance to charitable organizations.
“The opportunity to make bird masks in the park with peacocks walking around is priceless. The Aviary is a perfect place to make art and learn about birds and the environment on the side…with a little bit of civics as well,” says Peterson. “We are excited about the partnership we have with the Aviary to continue to provide multi-disciplinary and fun learning experiences for our children.”
The public is invited to Tracy Aviary to view the masks during regular business hours. The public is invited to bid on the masks for charity and take a walk around the Aviary and get the details on Proposition One. Free entrance will be granted this week to anyone who knows the secret password: Scarecrow. Silent Auction runs October 25- October 31, 2008 1:00 pm. Auction winners can pick up masks in time for Halloween costume parties.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Do you care about the environment but don't consider yourself an enviro?

Polls taken during the last few years show that 80% of Americans believe that the environment is important and should be preserved. However, only 30% of Americans consider themselves "environmentalists".

I've posted a poll to test these results. Please take the quick multiple choice poll in the side bar to the right and feel free to comment here to leave your two cents.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Save the Aviary for $2.50/year. Vote Yes on #1!

Vote Yes! on Proposition 1

Tracy Aviary needs your help! Here’s why voters across Salt Lake County are already supporting Proposition 1:

The Aviary Is a Unique Gem That Can Shine Again

Tracy Aviary is a jewel unlike almost anything in the nation – right here in Salt Lake County.

* One of only two public aviaries in the entire country
* The only public aviary west of the Mississippi
* The oldest and largest public aviary in the nation

But the Aviary has suffered from decades of under-investment. Despite the Aviary’s best efforts, roofs are leaking and infrastructure is crumbling. Due to these problems and uncertain future funding, the Aviary was denied accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2006.

Salt Lake County residents have high standards for their public facilities. Proposition 1 will enable the Aviary to re-emerge as a world-class, AZA-accredited facility with a clear path for continued success.

An Investment in the Aviary Is an Investment in Education and Children

At the Aviary, kids learn about birds and the environment and have a great time doing it. Children and education are a central part of the Aviary’s mission, and Proposition 1 will help the Aviary improve and expand its important work with kids.

* The Aviary’s award-winning AVES (Avian Ecology in Schools) Program – combining teacher training, innovative activities, and Aviary field trips – has engaged 2350 students in 87 fourth grade classrooms at more than 20 different schools across Salt Lake County
* Thousands more children visit the Aviary each year on school field trips and with their families

With its current facilities, the Aviary can meet only 30% of the demand for its educational programming. By providing larger and dramatically better education space, Proposition 1 will help the Aviary play an even greater part in the lives of Salt Lake County kids.

Proposition 1 Is Affordable and Fiscally Responsible

The cost of Proposition 1 is less than a penny per day for the average homeowner (approximately $2.51 per year).

By replacing antiquated exhibits with wonderful new interactive indoor experiences, Proposition 1 will enable the Aviary to dramatically increase year-round visitation and revenues without adding significant new overhead and administrative costs.

Click Here for Endorsements for Prop. 1

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Get Smart With Art: Dilworth Arts Program gets a visit from KSL

Surprise appearance from KSL reporters at my school today and here what popped up on the news tonight.
click here for video newsclip

Program uses art to reinforce core curriculum
October 2, 2008

Nearly 60 elementary schools in Utah are using art to help students get smart. It's all because of a new state-funded art program.

Research suggests that art can actually help students with core subjects like math, science and English. The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program is helping schools mix the two together.

Chris Peterson is Dilworth Elementary's art specialist, and the artists in training are Mrs. Ostler's first-grade class.

Today, they're getting inspiration from van Gogh. Max says, "We just draw our paintings and all that stuff, and I added a lot of details and stuff." And because they're having so much fun, they don't even notice what they're really doing. Peterson says, "I've been collaborating with all the regular classroom teachers to find out what they're learning in the core curriculum in their classrooms."

Sarah says, "We learned about sunflowers, and we drew them."

"I think it's fun and that we're learning a lot of stuff," says Maxine.

The 59 schools involved in the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program use all kinds of art to reinforce core curriculum.

Oakridge Elementary, for instance, uses music. The program was funded by the Legislature back in March, and almost $16 million will be paid out over the next four years. "Using art to teach is such a powerful tool," Peterson says. "You can get them interested. They can learn things with their eyes instead of just zoning off and daydreaming."

The Utah Arts Council backs this program and hopes that when it ends in four years, they'll be able to expand it and offer it to other schools.


Friday, September 19, 2008

first two weeks of school at dilworth

Today marks the two week mark for my new job as the "Art Specialist" at Dilworth Elementary School in SLC. It has been absolutely exhausting and i love it. Being an art teacher is like being Santa Claus. Every single kid loves art, so I'm pretty popular around town. Last week I handed out 500 sketchbooks to every child and we worked on Self- Portraits. In class I introduced myself and told them about how important imagination is. I even got them all to do a short meditation (closing their eyes, focusing upon their breathe, and listening deeply for their own heartbeat) as I told them an East African story I got from Laura Simms about buffalo robes, children turning into buffalo, a hunter, and a baby boy who choses to live with the buffalo. They loved it. I even had a student proclaim "There's a buffalo in my head!" when she opened her eyes again.

This week, we learned about Tibet and prayer flags (Lung-Tu = "wind horse") and talked a lot about peace. We all made our own prayer flags that we will hang in the school next week. The sixth graders made prayer flags that will be included in an installation by local artist Trent Alvey at Neighborhood House in SLC.

I've been wanting to include some photos, but because of liability issues, I can't show any children's faces. So, I took some photos and then cropped them just so. It barely hints at the exciting times we've had in school, but use your imagination.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shiloh at her Aunt Hayley's Wedding

Our family went to my littlest sister's wedding weekend extravaganza in Utah Valley last week and got all dressed up. Some photos of the day turned out: Shiloh glowing like a cherub, Lisa and Shiloh mid-twirl, Shiloh and her cousing Grayson sharing a moment, Shiloh, Grayson and wild Mattson checking out the cows and hayslingin cowboys in a neighboring field, and Shiloh posing with her aunt Hayley in full regalia.

I also thought I'd throw this one of Shiloh's skiwampus teeth: Shiloh with her uncle Brad on an afternoon hike to visit Jerry's grave in Provo Canyon.