Alewife pins at Canoemobile

Does that title make any sense?  An organization called Wilderness Inquiry organizes events across the country that they call “Canoemobile” to introduce youth to their waterways and to help them learn about ecology.  As part of Somerville’s first Canoemobile event at the Mystic River on Tuesday, Connection Lab led an activity in the MUSCRAT bus, the city’s “roving art bus”.

It was a beautiful day on the Mystic:

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With a plan for 300 students to come through in 15 minute cycles throughout the day we needed an activity that would be quick and still make an impression.  Beautiful Stuff had great recycled materials, including the metal peel-off tops from yogurt containers.  With the addition of a pin on the back of each, the yogurt tops became “blanks” for the kids to turn into fish pins.

The Mystic River has a history of pollution.  Fish were a great entry point into a discussion of pollution, the decimation of the local fish population, and current efforts to reduce pollution through legislation and individual efforts.  While they were on the water in canoes, many youth had seen dead fish and garbage in the water.  They left with a strong understanding of the link between pollution and wildlife.

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The pins that they designed were varied and fun.  I hope that as they wear them and show them to their friends and family they’ll also talk about the history and ecology of the Mystic River.

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