First Step: The RainForest ArtLink Project
50 Students from Bridgeport and São Sebastião conceived, created and exchanged art pieces that illustrated important aspects of their own culture. Both sides gained new perspectives by looking into different world views, and continued to explore them in six live interactive videoconferences throughout the year.
This methodology was perfect to initiate the year-long exchange and set the stage for the in-person experiences they would soon take part in.
A Creative Connections' Program, The RainForest ArtLink Project promotes the conception, creation and exchange of art and live videoconferencing between US students and those located in the rainforest.
Getting to know each other through Art and Interactive Videoconferences
Second Step: Maritime Aquarium Marine Life Study Cruise
Fairchild Wheeler students received a first-hand understanding of Long Island Sound's interdependent marine life aboard the aquarium’s state-of-the-art 64-foot all-aluminum hybrid-electric catamaran. This research vessel runs virtually silently on electric power. With staff from the Maritime Aquarium, students used various sampling techniques, such as plankton tow, trawl net and biodredge to study a variety of fish, crabs, mollusks and more! A videomicroscope connected to a giant-screen monitor and a large touch tank on board enhanced their observations.
Discovering the Long Island Sound
Third Step: Fairchild Wheeler Students Travel to the Brazilian Amazon
On the morning of November 22, 2016, after a 20+ hour river boat journey on the Amazon and Anapu Rivers deep into the Caxiuanã National Forest of the Amazon, the American team arrived to spend an entire day in the São Sebastião community before continuing on to a research station operated by the Goeldi Museum in another area of the forest. This is a community with very limited contact with the outside world and one that is only accessible by boat.
One Fairchild Wheeler Student’s Perspective
“Once I was in the community of São Sebastião, I’ve never felt so welcomed in my life. To be surrounded by people that are so happy with your company is the best feeling ever. I wasn’t expecting the students to be so comfortable with us so quickly. We became friends instantly.”
Because Gabriela is fluent in both Portuguese and English, she immediately assumed a leadership role during this special day in the São Sebastião community and later at the research station when the São Sebastião students reconvened with the American travelers for a week-long science camp. The research station was the best part of the whole exchange. It was a place where connections of culture, people, and the environment took place. At both locations Gabriela brought together the students and adults from each country and helped to circumvent many cultural misunderstandings that might have surfaced otherwise.
"For me, being able to speak the language makes it my pleasure to help others. Being able to see people connect with one another just by translating what they said is amazing. Language is something I value, and being able to be a part of this trip and facilitate the lives of others is the best feeling ever."
360 Video of São Sebastião
Discovering the Amazon and our partners in São Sebastião
At the Ferreira Penna scientific station, in the Caxiuanã National Forest
360 Video after Climbing the Research Tower at Caxiuanã
Visiting the collection at the Goeldi Museum in Belém, Pará
Early on the morning of April 19, 2017, after months of planning and two flights totaling 20+ hours of travel time, the Brazilian team finally arrived in Norwalk, CT. After resting in their hotel rooms, eating in the hotel restaurant, taking showers, and sleeping in their own beds, the team woke the next day and took the hotel shuttle bus to Stepping Stones Museum for Children to participate in the Welcome Ceremony.
Welcome to New England and Stepping Stones Museum for Children!
Science Workshops at Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet High School
Exploring Long Island Sound with The Maritime Aquarium
Sightseeing in New York City
Creating prints at Center for Contemporary Printmaking
Visiting Brazilian Community in Danbury, CT
Lifelines/ Aspectos Vitais Project Partners
A Museums Connect project. Museums Connect is an initiative of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that is administered by the American Alliance of Museums.
About Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Stepping Stones Museum for Children is an award-winning, private, non-profit 501 (c)(3) children’s museum committed to broadening and enriching the lives of children and families. For more information about Stepping Stones, to book a field trip or schedule a class, workshop or facility rental call 203-899-0606 or visit www.steppingstonesmuseum.org
About the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi
The Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi is one of the biggest and most popular museums in Brazil. Founded in 1866, the Goeldi Museum is a Zoo, Botanical Park and Research Center located in Belém, a city in the northern Brazilian state of Pará. The oldest public aquarium in Brazil is one of the attractions of the Park. Located on the western part of the Amazon on the Marajo archipelago in the Caxiuanã National Forest, the Goeldi Museum also features the Ferreira Penna Scientific Station, which carries several science and environmental education actions aimed at schools, both in Belém and Caxiuanã. http://www.museu-goeldi.br/portal/
About Creative Connections
Creative Connections, an international non-profit, connects students in the USA with their international peers through the exchange of art and ideas. Their mission is to help students become global citizens who are prepared to learn, live, work and thrive in the 21st Century. For more information on Creative Connections, visit www.creativeconnections.org
About the Maritime Aquarium
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institution whose mission is to inspire people of all ages to appreciate and protect the Long Island Sound ecosystem and the global environment through living exhibits, marine science and environmental education. The Maritime Aquarium receives support from the State of Connecticut DECD’s Offices of Culture and Tourism. https://www.maritimeaquarium.org/
About the American Alliance of Museums
The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 30,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org
About the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, private-sector, professional and sports exchange programs. The Bureau’s exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes and emerging leaders in many fields in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of ECA exchanges comprise over one million people around the world, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 320 current or former heads of state and government. For more information, visit http://exchanges.state.gov