Zoo-Based Professional Development
This past summer, I attended the NAEA Southeastern Regional Conference held in Memphis, Tennessee, from July 19–22. Melody Weintraub, Cindy Todd and I were members of the Retired Art Educators Association who attended and participated in three days of engaging and beneficial camaraderie and leadership professional development. The conference was held at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, a perfect setting for us. What is better than meeting in an art museum?
One of the highlights of the conference was a visit to the Memphis Zoo, which had a beautiful, Ancient Egypt-inspired setting. We had an early morning entrance where we fed their giraffes sweet gum leaves and photographed and drew them. Back at the museum, we created watercolor postcards from our sketches to donate to the zoo to be sold to raise money for giraffe conservation. This community service learning-through-art experience provides an engaging model that others could easily replicate if they have access to a zoo or similar venue.
Nancy Walkup is the editor-in-chief of SchoolArts magazine. NWalkup@DavisArt.com