In her Gold Award Project, Art For Clean Water, Camille Butterfield combined her passions for the arts and the environment to create an art curriculum specifically connected with the work of clean water advocate Christopher Swain. Art For Clean Water builds on Swain’s inspirational school presentations and teaches about environmental awareness and conservation through art projects. Camille’s lesson plan, available online, will make these serious issues accessible and fun for students everywhere.
“I chose it because Christopher Swain was a college friend of my mom’s and has been a positive force in my life ever since I can remember. I’ve always been so inspired by his swims and was happy to find a way I could contribute to his work and these causes I have grown to care deeply about as well,” says Camille, adding that she also chose the project due to her love of the arts.
Camille is considering becoming an art teacher when she grows up and really enjoyed designing the projects and learning about the logistics of lesson planning. “My favorite part by far was testing out the projects on younger students, particularly Girl Scouts, and seeing the way the arts brought these issues to life for the students in a fun, creative, and upbeat way. Issues of global climate change, conservation, and sustainability can seem very bleak at times, so it’s exciting for me to help educate students about these issues in a way that isn’t so scary or discouraging,” she explains.
Camille’s Gold Award project also ended up helping a Brownie Troop complete their “Wonders of Water” Journey, which Christine saw as doubly rewarding.
During the project, Camille gained a newfound respect for her teachers and all the time and energy they put into planning lessons; it’s quite a process! “I learned that teaching art would be a really good fit for me as a potential career, because though I can be shy, I really enjoyed leading the “classes” as I tested the projects, and encouraging students to find their creative sides. I also learned that there is a lot we can do on a personal and local level to reduce our environmental impact.”