Cloudforest Classroom Extends to the Atlanta Community

Written by Margarita Piña, Director of Hispanic Student Outreach and Support

Three years ago, as part of the Cloudforest Classroom at Siempre Verde, Lovett students in the Spanish Immersion and Art and the Environment classes collaborated with students from the local elementary school at Río Cenepa to write and illustrate a picture book with a message of environmental responsibility. Upper School teachers Diane Staats and Karey Walter worked with the students as they developed the text and illustrations.

El colibrí y el incendio (The hummingbird and the forest fire), is a bilingual picture book in English and Spanish that tells the story of a community of animals who find that their forest home is on fire. Most of them immediately flee, but one small hummingbird flies against the crowd and back into the forest, carrying one drop of water at a time in his tiny beak. When the other animals realize what the hummingbird is doing, they join him in doing what they can to fight the fire. 

The story is a Quechua legend from the Andes of South America. It is a parable about community, solidarity, and civic responsibility, especially in the face of environmental problems. Students were guided by the popular retelling of Flight of the Hummingbird: A Parable for the Environment, written and illustrated by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (available from Greystone Books). 

To expand learning beyond the Siempre Verde classroom, this week Lovett will be distributing 250 copies of El colibrí y el incendio to the Agape Youth and Family Center and La Amistad, two non-profit organizations that have a long-standing partnership with Lovett and that serve the Hispanic/Latino community of Atlanta. 

The book will be used to empower and inspire children from under-served families to  improve their English/Spanish fluency.  The book will include thought starters for learning lessons and printable flash cards prepared by Diane Staats and will serve as a bridge to further learning opportunities about topics relevant to Siempre Verde and other areas of science.
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