Dee Abasute is the Assistant Education Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Dee is working with the Parks Conservancy through Public Allies, a program that aims to increase the capacity of local non-profits and help Allies develop as professionals and leaders.
On February 7, I went to Frick Park to observe the Habitat Explorers first-grade program. As Assistant Education Coordinator, I mainly work on the High School Urban Ecostewards program, so after wrapping up a daunting week with our high school students, I jumped at the chance to be around younger kids. On that day, students from Helen S. Faison Arts Academy came to Frick to explore the woodland habitat. They had already visited a meadow habitat and later this year they will visit a stream habitat. I was so impressed by all the information they remembered from previous sessions, their attentiveness, and level of curiosity. I really enjoyed my time with them. These kids were so adorable!
On February 28 and 29, I got the chance to see these kids again at the Windows Into Nature art workshop. As you might know, we are in the process of building a new Environmental Center at Frick Park and we are looking for ways to engage students and the community into the design process. For this workshop, students were asked to create art pieces using natural and man-made materials showing their favorite habitat and an animal that lived there. After four first-
grade classes, bags of Spanish moss, hundreds of mosaic tiles, sticks of hot glue, and twigs, we ended up with very interesting representations of park habitats. I was exhausted after the last class, but I had fun! I do not see myself being an art teacher in the future! But would I do it again? Yup! I love art and crafts and being around kids, no matter how crazy things can become.
If you’d like to see the art pieces, visit the children’s section of the Homewood Library where they will be on display until Thursday, April 19. Or you can see them in Frick Park for the Earth Day Celebration on April 21. At the event, stop by the Parks Conservancy tent and check out the designs for the new Environmental Center!
Learn more about our education programs and volunteer opportunities at pittsburghparks.org/getinvolved.