Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Place of Wholeness: A Program for Youth Exploring Their Own Unitarian Universalist Faith Journeys

Alternate Activity 2: Winged Migration

Activity time: 45 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • A copy of the film Winged Migration, directed by Jacques Perrin & Jacques Cluzaud, 98 minutes (available at most movie rental stores and Netflix)
  • TV or computer, and DVD player
  • Newsprint, markers and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Rent or purchase the film Winged Migration. This documentary follows the migration of several different species of birds from the perspective of the birds themselves. There is very little narration, but a lot of gorgeous images and beautiful music.
  • Decide whether you will watch the whole movie or just a portion of it. This activity provides another way of looking at migration. If you use this activity instead of the Jacob Lawrence story in the framework of your regular workshop, you will probably want to show only a 15-minute section. However, if you are using this as a supplement at a youth group overnight or conference, watching the whole movie will likely have more impact and spark a deeper conversation. If you show the whole movie, the total length of the activity will be two hours.
  • Review the movie, even if you have seen it before. If you are using just a portion of the movie, decide what 15-minute section to show. Because this workshop focuses on the beginning of a spiritual journey, consider using the first 15 minutes because this portion includes scenes of birds beginning to migrate.
  • Gather all materials, including the TV and DVD player. It is always a good idea to make sure your technology is working before participants arrive.
  • Optional: Write discussion questions on newsprint and post.

Description of Activity

If you are using this activity as a supplemental activity and have also done the activity based on Jacob Lawrence's art, start by saying something about how there are different types of migrations. Point out that the image they viewed by Lawrence told the story of human migration. However, animals migrate as well and their story can also be compelling as a way to think about spiritual journey.

If you are using this activity as a replacement for the Lawrence activity, start by asking the participants: what might we discover about our own spiritual journey from watching birds migrate? As they share ideas, write them on newsprint.

Then show the movie or the 15-minute section that you selected.

After showing the movie, direct participants' attention to the discussion questions you have posted on newsprint:

  • What was surprising about the movie? What was as you expected?
  • What connections can you make between bird migration and your spiritual journey?
  • Birds and other animals migrate because of weather patterns, the availability of food, and mating. Do you think there are similar biological reasons for your spiritual journey? If not biological, what reasons exist for a person to conduct a spiritual journey?
  • What is the role of community in the bird's migration? What is the role of community in a spiritual journey?