Nature Consortium Programs
Our Youth Art Program classes are designed to increase youths' artistic skills, a deeper connection to the environment, enhanced social competence, and an improved positive identity. We combine unique class offerings (including visual arts, digital design, performance arts, gardening, and many more) with skilled teaching artists. We've actively changing the inner and outer landscape for urban youth in our community. Says Mahlet S., Teens in Public Service intern for the Youth Art Program, "this amazing program inspires students to help keep our earth clean, teaches leadership, and shows them that they are capable of doing anything."
Our Urban Forest Restoration Project works to remove invasive plant, reintroduce native conifer species, maintain restoration sites, and provide environmental education. A labor of love, the Restoration Project's efforts rely on an army of volunteers to, rain or shine, dig out blackberries, mulch newly planted native species, and clean up litter. The 62 acres that we maintain may seem like a lot, but knowing that we are just beginning the task of creating a healthy, old-growth forest for future generations makes the commitment worthwhile.
Our annual Arts in Nature Festival is a celebratory summer weekend full of entertaining performances, beautiful experiential art, and sound installations placed throughout the woods at Camp Long. Since its inception in 1998, the Festival has provided a feast for the senses, immersing festival-goers young and old in a broad range of performances, interactive multimedia experiences, and arts activities -- all under a beautiful canopy of trees and open sunny meadows. According to Steven Arnston, a musician and Seattle resident, the "Arts in Nature [Festival] is my favorite music festival in Seattle. Instead of a sweaty crush of bodies, bad food, and scarce tickets, we're treated to a beautiful park, leisure wandering, wonderful lunch on a sun-speckled patio, and the most diverse array of performances."
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Nature Consortium recently launched it's Environmental Education Exchange Program, where NC educators will provide environmental education lessons in exchange for attending service learning in forest restoration. In the 2011-2012 school year, we reached 367 students as part of their school curriculum.
One of our organization's greatest needs include general operating support to assist with expenses. We believe strongly in providing a living wage to our artists and performers, who are an integral part of our teaching model.