Earth Day commemorated with pledge, mural

Belle Meade and Hearthstone students pose with completed mural.

From contributed reports
“The pledge was created to unite all people of the earth in an allegiance to honor, protect and celebrate life on this scared, fragile planet.”

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, as well as the 40th anniversary of Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection (RLEP), students from Hearthstone School and Belle Meade School in Sperryville united last week for a two-day collaboration to illustrate a mural for a new “world pledge” entitled “Earth Allegiance.”

Created by Living Sky Foundation’s Cherl Crews, the new pledge was intended to unite all people of the earth in a common vision and pledge to honor, protect and celebrate life on earth without offending any one belief system.

The focus of this mural was to stress the need for environmental protection of all endangered species and their natural habitats, as well as to recognize all organizations and individuals who make preserving and protecting the environment their honored work and daily existence.

The students began the project by researching some of the more than 500 locally endangered creatures from information gathered from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries “Wildlife Action Plan,” and also included some of the endangered plants native to our area that they had learned about in their botany studies.

The group then discussed, sketched and painted the images from what they learned, ultimately creating a beautiful mural and canvas rug.

The entire project was initiated and supported by Crews, director of the Living Sky Foundation, who commissioned the assistance of Tim and Constance Friesen of AVEC Arts (Arts Vitally Enrich Communities). The Friesens are a professional artist team who traveled from their home in Wisconsin and under whose direction, organization and artistry assisted to make this mural possible.

Lisa Powers of Madison began the day’s activities by connecting the group of artists, musicians, students and teachers by leading them in Dances of Universal Peace, which incorporate simple, joyous, multicultural circle dances to promote peace and integration between all individuals.

Throughout the day local musician and teacher Frances Miller facilitated beautiful song and drumming for the group to enjoy and participate while painting, making the entire two days a joyous occasion and celebration, as well as a phenomenal educational experience to share with their communities.

The mural, upon completion, will be permanently housed in Rappahannock County for all to enjoy.

The ultimate vision of the pledge is for youth in other areas and communities around the globe to come together for the common good of art, community, and preserving and protecting the planet. The mural created today could be used as a template for other schools or groups to illustrate their own project pledge with species not only native but also endangered in their own backyards.

The pledge goes as follows:

I pledge allegiance to the earth
Of our beloved solar system
And to all of her creatures for here they dwell
One planet united in harmony
With universal love and compassion for all.

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