The Elephant Map goes to School | by Connie Brown
As a former teacher, I not only think educationally, I design maps educationally as well. So the elephant map, like other projects of mine, works as a teaching map. Katie and I designed it to illuminate the character of African elephants, their ecological and cultural roles, and the inter-relatedness of all creatures in the natural world.
Once the original 4 x 4 foot canvas was completed, Katie and I began to seek a temporary home for it (before it is sold for the benefit of DSWT), a location where the map would serve as educational public art. We were thrilled when the celebrated Avenues School, a private pre-K through 12th grade school in New York City, adopted the map for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Avenues, with its unusual emphasis on global readiness, is the perfect environment for our project. It’s mission statement is so glorious, I’d like to share the whole thing: “We will graduate students who are accomplished in the academic skills one would expect; at ease beyond their borders; truly fluent in a second language; good writers and speakers one and all; confident because they excel in a particular passion; artists no matter their field; practical in the ways of the world; emotionally unafraid and physically fit; humble about their gifts and generous of spirit; trustworthy; aware that their behavior makes a difference in our ecosystem; great leaders when they can be, good followers when they should be; on their way to well-chosen higher education; and, most importantly, architects of lives that transcend the ordinary.”
The map hangs in the school’s Lower Division, and is already part of academic life. According to teacher Eric Ogden, “Third graders have begun their map studies and several classes have spent time with the map already. They have been going through idea of ‘I see, I think, and I wonder’ as they begin their initial explorations.”
100% of net profits from map sales support The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust who have been saving orphaned elephants in Africa and giving them a chance to grow old in the wild for forty years.