For 8 years we have been running a project entitled “Academy of Ecology and Arts for Children” – a series of artistic and ecological workshops. During the workshops the participants develop manual skills and ecological knowledge, as well as imagination and sensitivity to nature. Approximately 2000 children have already participated in this project. The program of the Academy of Ecology and Art covers the issues of the nature conservation and the ecology of protected species of fauna and flora in Poland, knowledge about upcycling and recycling, knowledge about inspirations from nature in culture and arts, knowledge about climate change and more.

All the activities teach creativity, observation skills, develop manual abilities, as well as how to use different materials and artistic tools. They boost children’s confidence and help them to overcome difficulties.

Each creative process begins with an initial draft and goes through several stages until the final work is completed. The most important thing is the creator’s idea – this is where the creative work starts. Each child can be guided through the creative process. Additionally, we will unleash creative expression by experimenting with a wide range of artistic techniques such as drawing, painting, calligraphy, shadow theatre, graphic arts or sculpting in various materials. One example of inspiration linking the observer to nature in environmental education can be symmetry as most natural forms are symmetrical. Symmetry is order. It can be learnt through cutting out, grouping shapes or ornamental exercises… Workshops on fish in the Vistula or endangered amphibian species can be conducted using, for example, only the contrast of black and white. You need to think about what black means and what white means and what they convey in an image. What is their role in nature and how they are used e.g. for camouflage Then use a technique that is based on the use of black and white. Chinese ink, plaster printing, monotypes on glass, carving in different materials and making prints are all aimed at improving manual skills. Observation, working on the shape?, learning the importance of the background in composition, etc. “The Academy of Ecology and Art” is always dedicated to nature and ecology. The environmental context seems to be just a pretext. But that is not the case. The perverse nature of this idea is that without being inspired by nature, we would not be able to complete the task. So to conclude then, nature is important. It is essential to our lives. This is what we want the participants to take away from our workshops.