Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Gather the Spirit: A Multigenerational Program about Stewardship

Activity 3: River Scene - Downriver Critters

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • River Scene mural (Workshop 1, Activity 2)
  • Drawing supplies such as oil pastels; color markers; paints, paintbrushes and cups of water (and newspapers or drop cloth)
  • Plain drawing paper, scissors (including left-handed scissors) and glue sticks and tape
  • Optional: Music and music player

Preparation for Activity

  • Retrieve the group's River Scene, if it is not already posted where the group can work on it. Set up work areas where participants can create either directly on the River Scene or on drawing paper to attach the mural.
  • Optional: If this is the first time the group will work on the River Scene, read Workshop 1, Activity 2. Identify where you can leave the River Scene mural posted or store it between workshops. Obtain the materials and supplies you will need and plan how you will incorporate the start-up into today's activity. You might invite some participants to begin the River Scene (as directed in Workshop 1) and others to add the fish and animals suggested for this workshop.
  • Optional: Consider using background music to inhibit extraneous noise and help the group focus. Quiet, instrumental music with a water theme will probably work best. Choose music and set up a music player.

Description of Activity

Participants continue creating the River Scene, begun in Workshop 1, Activity 2.

Invite participants to add fresh water fish and animals. Say something like:

We have already made drawings that show human activities on the banks of our river. Now we are going to make fish and other animals that might live in the river or along its banks. You can choose any animals or fish you want. Don't worry about whether those animals would actually live along a nearby river. If you want to add a kangaroo, that is fine. You have about ten minutes.

Begin playing quiet music, if you have brought some.

With a few minutes remaining, invite participants to clean up and share what they have made. Then gather the group and invite all to look at the River Scene for a minute while you speak. You might say:

Imagine that you live upstream, beside the river. (Indicate which direction you mean to be "upstream".)

If you get into a rowboat or canoe, you can float along. The river will move you past all the wonderful places and people and animals along the banks. You can see fish swimming around in the water. Let's look quietly for a moment, and see if we can feel a real sense of connection, maybe a spiritual connection, with the life in and around the river. (Pause for a moment.)

Now ask yourself: Would you want to hurt any of these people and animals? You would be doing just that, if you threw trash or other bad stuff into any water that connects with this river. All around the world, people have been destroying rivers that way, over and over again. In America , many of our rivers have become polluted, and people are working very hard to clean them up.

There's a Native American saying, "The frog does not drink up the water in which it lives." That is kind of like not throwing plastic bags into a reservoir or dumping industrial chemicals into a river that holds fresh water which someday a living creature-maybe you-may need to drink.

Including All Participants

Provide a variety of work spaces so that people with varied abilities can work easily and comfortably. If standing and attaching their work to the river scene is challenging for some, let them work with partners who can help display their creations.

Not everyone is comfortable making drawings. You can suggest some participants cut out magazine pictures to attach to the mural or enhance the river with blue paper or crepe paper. Avoid extravagant praise as well as critiques of participant contributions-affirm all who help shape the River Scene.