Creative Conservation Curriculum

Welcome to the CAI Creative Conservation Curriculum! Through our research and experience, we have seen the power of creative methods and arts-based approaches dramatically increase community understanding, participation and commitment to collectively address the environmental threats we face on both local and global levels.

Based on the collaboration between CAI and our partner organizations in Belize and Guatemala - TIDE, Ya’axche, FUNDAECO, SEA and SACD - over the last two years, we have documented and compiled 25 creative activities and projects that were implemented in the field for you to use, replicate, and modify to fit your community context. For each activity, you will find an instruction guide as well as specific case studies so that you can see how they have been adapted to particular target groups and issue areas.

The Creative Conservation Curriculum has been applied to a variety of conservation topics such as climate change, sustainable fishing, reef protection, pollution, gender equality, alternative livelihoods and natural resource management. It has also been used with a wide range of populations including primary school classrooms, youth, indigenous women, non-profit staff and fishers. The activities are meant to be adaptable and accessible for you to engage your communities for decades to come. We hope they inspire and support you in your important marine conservation work to preserve the incredible beauty and biodiversity of the Gulf of Honduras for current and future generations.

To request the entire curriculum in digital format, please contact Education & Training Director Aryeh Shell at aryeh@creativeactioninstitute.org. 

Note: Make sure to bookmark this page in your browser for future access.

The Creative Conservation Curriculum project is made possible by:

 

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Art Codes

An Art Code is a creative and symbolic representation of an issue. The facilitator unpacks the code with the community through a four-step dialogue process in order to perceive and relate to the problem, analyze the causes and generate possibilities for action.

Area of Focus: Community education; engagement; dialogue; analysis of an issue; trust-building; generation of actions and solutions
Target Groups: Community members, students, stakeholders
Intended Outcome: Ability to use different art forms to symbolically represent social and environmental issues for the community to understand, relate, analyze and generate actions.

 


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Colored Thinking Hats

A group analyzes an issue or challenge together from different perspectives while wearing one of six different colored hats. Each hat represents a different way of thinking or point of view.

Area of Focus: Community education; dialogue; analysis of an issue; collaboration; trust-building; parallel and divergent thinking; problem-solving
Target Groups: Stakeholders, staff, students
Intended Outcome: To maximize productive collaboration; strengthen a group’s ability to align and understand an issue from multiple perspectives; generate creative thinking and solutions to a problem


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Colorful Signs

Signs may be used for many different purposes. From providing information, protesting or marketing your organization; signs direct, inform and inspire your audience. 

Area of Focus: Community education; engagement; inspiration
Target Groups: Community members, students, stakeholders
Intended Outcome: Ability to communicate a message effectively with a colorful and impactful sign


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Comic Book Workshop

This workshop teaches participants to make a three-panel comic strip and how to make the story compelling for their audience.

Area of Focus: Community education; analysis of an issue; storytelling; communication; basic illustration
Target Group: Students
Intended Outcome: Participants will understand the power of the printed media and be able to use these skills to spread environmental messages to a greater community.


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Council of All Beings

Participants choose a non-human Being (species or habitat) and develop messages about the concerns and challenges that species is experiencing in this time of ecological crisis and climate change. 

Area of Focus: Environmental education; problem-solving
Target Group: Students, community members, fishermen, parents, non-profits
Intended Outcome: To strengthen a sense of belonging and connection with the natural world; deepen our commitment to defend life in all its forms; increase awareness of the effects of climate change; experience the beauty and power of life.


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Fish Bowl Role Play

Participants discuss an issue in a role-play format to represent the different perspectives of a variety of stakeholders. 

Area of Focus: Community dialogue with multiple stakeholders; perspective taking; strategic planning
Target Groups: Community members, staff, stakeholders
Intended Outcome: Participants will increase their capacity to see an issue from multiple viewpoints


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Giant Story Book

Giant Story Books can be used to call attention and educate about any issue in a visual way. 

Area of Focus: Information sharing, visual communication, storytelling
Target Groups: Community, students, stakeholders
Intended Outcome: To make information visual, accessible, and easier to transmit in large comic book / graphic story form; capture people’s attention and imagination; inspire participation and active learning


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Images on the Wall

Different images about a particular topic are posted around the room on large pieces of blank paper. Participants walk through the space in silence and write or draw their own words, thoughts or images in association with the image onto the paper, making links with other people’s contributions as they see them.

Area of Focus: Elicit knowledge, feelings, and opinions about an issue; generate and connect ideas
Target Groups: Anyone
Intended Outcome: Increased awareness and understanding of an issue or topic area; ability to visually connect ideas


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Interview Plaques

This activity recognizes the contributions and participation of local community members by publicly displaying their portrait and a quote on a wooden plaque.

Area of Focus: Community engagement and recognition; stakeholder participation; inspiration; role-modeling
Target Groups: Visitors/public audience/community members of where plaques will be displayed
Intended Outcome: To recognize and share the subject’s experience and commitment to the work; to highlight the perspective and participation of the local community; to use art as a visual communication tool

 


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Letter to the Future

Participants write a letter to the future generations. In their letter, they are invited to identify tangible commitments they wish to make that are in service to the future.

Area of Focus: Sustainability; critical reflection; long-term thinking and commitment
Target Group: All
Intended Outcome: Deeper connection and commitment to environmental conservation and future generations


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Murals

A mural is an artwork painted on a large permanent surface such as a wall where it can be seen by the public. Murals can be made individually or by a group of people who work together to communicate important messages about social and environmental issues.

Area of Focus: Education; community building; reclaiming public space; beautifying
Target Group: Students, community members, fishermen, parents, non-profits, general public
Intended Outcome: To take part in participatory learning, decision making, planning and action; to mobilize community awareness and action about specific issues.

 


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Photography

This workshop provides participants with some fundamental principles of photography about the impact of different visual perspectives so the participants will be able to use photography to convey a meaningful message.

Area of Focus: Storytelling; education
Target Group: Students; community members
Intended Outcome: To understand different photographic strategies to shape audience perception

 


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Problem Tree-Solution Tree

This powerful and simple activity uses a visual tree metaphor to analyze the root causes and effects of a specific problem in order to identify strategic interventions and solutions.

Area of Focus: Strategic analysis; identifying points of intervention; project planning
Target Group: All
Intended Outcome: The ability to identify the roots causes of an issue in order to identify solutions and strategic action plans

 


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Puppet Show Workshop

This workshop takes you through the entire process of a creating a puppet show - from script writing, puppet making, character development and performance.

Area of Focus: Community education; analyzing community issues, bringing awareness to a topic
Target Group: Puppet shows will captivate all audiences ;the content of the show can be designed appropriately for your target group.
Intended Outcome: Participants will learn about the subject(s) being portrayed in the show by putting themselves in the shoes of the issue, person, specie or area of focus. Audiences will be entertained by the performance element and informed through its educational content.


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Radio Drama

Participants are assigned characters from a play script highlighting a key issue and a recording is made of the participants’ voices performing the script. 

Area of Focus: Performance, Community Engagement, Climate change
Target Group: Students, community members, non-profits
Intended Outcome: To share a message in a unique and creative way that engages the audience’s sense of sound and imagination.


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Recycled Art

Participants learn to communicate environmental messages or transform a public space through recycled art projects, such as signs, murals, fashion shows or sculptures.

Area of Focus: Climate change and pollution
Target Group: Non-profit staff; community members
Intended Outcome: To communicate environmental messages through recycled art projects; To build awareness around the most commonly found trash washing up on shore and how to reuse it in a creative manner; to guide participants in raising community awareness through an arts-based project / campaign.


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Reframe the Message

Participants will learn how to develop a compelling communication strategy by adapting a particular form of popular culture.

Area of Focus: Message framing; collaboration
Target Group: Students, non-profit staff
Intended Outcome: To communicate a message in a compelling way by adapting some form of popular culture


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Repetitive Images

Repetitive images help to raise awareness and unify a group in a powerful, visual way.  This group activity will create a large quantity of visuals to maximize outreach efforts.

Area of Focus: Raising awareness; colorful street demonstrations; unifying
Target Group: Community members, media, event participants, campaign targets
Intended Outcome: To unify people and communicate simple messages in a compelling way, and to evoke beauty and unity in a street demonstration, public gathering area, festival booth, and/or event.


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Sculptures

Participants come together to express concerns or issues through the artistic process of working with clay and drawing, ideally for exhibit in a public space to raise community awareness.

Area of Focus: Empowerment; identity; equality
Target Group: Students, community members, women, fishermen, parents, non-profits, general public
Intended Outcome: To motivate community involvement and collaboration; increase awareness about a particular topic; generate dialogue and analysis; express issues and concerns through drawing and sculpture


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Songs

Create a song (and accompanying movements) to use as a teaching tool for technical /scientific information.

Area of Focus: Community engagement, awareness building, education
Target Group: Stakeholders, Students, community members, staff and volunteers
Intended Outcome: To build awareness of the subject matter in a fun and memorable way

 


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Sustainability Game - Harvest

Participants divide into small teams or fishing cooperatives. 6-10 rounds end either when all the fish have been depleted or a sustainable strategy for long-term management is developed.

Area of Focus: Sustainable resource management; climate change; long-term thinking
Target Group: Fishers, farmers, community members
Intended Outcome: Participants will better understand the tragedy of the commons and how to make long-term strategic decisions for sustainable resource management

 


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Theater Skits

Participants devise and write a script conveying a storyline with a message that is pertinent to their community. Characters are assigned and after a series of rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and an optional technical rehearsal, participants perform the play for their community. 

Area of Focus: Devising, Collaboration, Script-Writing, Performance
Target Group: Students, community members, non-profits
Intended Outcome: Strengthen group collaboration in a creative environment while sharing a message to the greater community.

 

 


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Time Lag

Using the length of rope as a visual representation of time, facilitators show the lag effect between our fossil fuel consumption and its impact on our planet’s climate.

Area of Focus: Climate change; lag effect of fossil fuel emissions; long-term thinking
Targeted Group: Community members, students, staff
Intended Outcome: Increased understanding of lag effects in systems and the delayed impact of our fossil fuel consumption on the climate

 


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Transforming Limiting Beliefs

Participants sculpt a partner into a shape to illustrate limiting beliefs that limit our capacity to take action and discuss the impacts of these beliefs. Participants resculpt the image to explore how to overcome or change these beliefs.

Area of Focus: Belief systems; critical analysis; strategy development; behavior change
Targeted Group: Community members, staff
Intended Outcome: Increased awareness of limiting beliefs and how we might transform them

 


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World Cafe

In small groups, participants are invited to share and visually illustrate ideas stemming from specific questions. There are multiple rounds, each with a new set of people and a new question. At the end there is a large group conversation about the themes, patterns and insights that arose.

Area of Focus: Dialogue; visioning; action-planning; collaboration; problem solving; reflection and learning on any issue
Targeted Group: Any group
Intended Outcome: Meaningful dialogue; deepen understanding about a community issue in a collaborative fashion; generate concrete next steps and ideas about how to take action or develop a shared vision; cultivate connection and trust between multiple stakeholders