EDN Teacher Spotlight: Tendai Wilkinson | Earth Day Network

The Challenge

Pollution, habitat loss, species protection, and more.

The Projects

Tendai Wilkinson, a middle school Art Teacher from the Uruguayn American School (UAS), is challenging her students to use visual arts to raise awareness and concern for a variety of environmental problems around the world. Students at UAS are learning to use video, 2D and 3D art, and music to communicate environmental issues to their communities.

One class created a wall-sized display of the ocean out of recycled plastic items and used computer parts to demonstrate how plastics are contaminating our oceans and threatening wildlife. Another class created art pieces and videos on air pollution, poaching, polar habitat loss, and deforestation. These projects allowed students to develop interdisciplinary skills in English, Science, and Art while also learning about important global environmental problems.

Tendai has also brought UAS into a wonderful collaborative effort with schools in Ecuador, Peru, Japan, Vietnam, and China. Based on the Puzzle Piece Project concept created by Tim Kelly, UAS students are creating puzzle pieces about environmental problems that will be added to installations which will be shown in different countries. This project includes Skype sessions with classes from around the world as well as conservation experts, like those at Rhinosaverz, to share their knowledge.

This year, Tendai’s 6th grade students have the opportunity to integrate their Science, English, and Art curriculums with SOS Rescate, a marine rescue operation in Uruguay. They will visit the center and learn about marine ecosystems, write reflections and research papers, and create art pieces to be sold in an exhibit fundraiser. In teams, they will also come up with action projects to help SOS Rescate achieve their conservation goals. At the end of the year, the students will train the incoming 6th grade class on how to keep the project going.

“This is an example of how we can reimagine our arts classes, giving it purpose, connection to real life, giving the students an opportunity to be aware and involved in the world they live in,” says Tendai. What a great way for students to be engaged in conservation work while developing their leadership, communication, and science skillsets and helping to protect our species.


What projects are your classes working on to learn about environmental issues? We would love to hear more about them! Email [email protected] any photos, videos, stories, and quotes about what you and your students are doing to protect our species! Tag us in your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts (we’re @EarthDayNetwork) with #EarthDay2019 #ProtectOurSpecies and we might highlight your work!