The pandemic created numerous struggles for everyone. Teachers, in particular, faced new challenges to keep their students engaged and inspired. Candace Green, an art teacher from Alhambra Elementary School District turned to nature to connect with her students. She led a self-guided virtual fieldtrip for her students at Desert Botanical Garden. They virtually attended the Garden’s plant collection, enjoyed an art installation by Cracking Art and Water Lily Pond Studios and explored the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail. Ms. Green used an iPad to guide her students throughout the Garden, and asked her students to sketch what they saw.
One student noted, “I am an 8th grade student at Sevilla West and I had the opportunity to take a little virtual tour. I was able to appreciate the beautiful work of nature, to see that beautiful color in the roses, every detail of the flowers is incredible. In this place I can affirm that you connect with nature and animals.”
One other student mentioned, “The Desert Botanical Garden was a really fun experience. The artwork was amazing and the building’s structure was awesome. I really liked everything we saw there.”
During their virtual visits, they discussed the importance of taking care of the desert environment, recycling, the impact humans have on the environment and how Native peoples use desert plants. Her students also learned that desert plants are well adapted to the Sonoran Desert. Deserts have three things in common. Extreme temperature swings, little rain fall, and high evaporation rates of moisture. The initiative gave students an awareness of the desert and an opportunity to see many unique desert plants.
Her students created desert inspired art pieces in various formats from digital prints to hand drawings depicting saguaros, sunshine and open landscapes. Take a look at the desert through the eyes of youth. (Top 3 images)