Rainforest Quilt as a Fundraiser
The rainforest has become a hot topic for children in Macomb, Illinois. Almost 200 students and the local Girl Scout troop have been painting and sewing a Rainforest Quilt. Local businesses were invited to buy donor squares that will have their names stitched into the quilt and create a border around the colorful squares of animals and plants of the rainforest that the children are creating.
The quilt is part of an ongoing effort to help The Children’s Eternal Rainforest. The project is reminiscent of the beginnings of the children’s rainforest. In 1987 Swedish children began raising money to send to Costa Rica to save the rainforest. The Swedish government matched their contribution, which started a global awareness, resulting in children from 44 countries contributing to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. As a thank you, children from the Quaker school in Monteverde, Costa Rica sent a rainforest quilt they had made to the students in Sweden.
Lisa Gruver who thought up the idea of the quilt project, told the kids, “This project has come together with the idea of celebrating the renewed awareness of the children’s rainforest and tying together arts, community and environmental education.”
Sue Mason, instructor of the four classes that are sewing the quilt, loves to promote community service because she wants the children to know that “just because they’re kids doesn’t mean they can’t help out.” And its fun, too.
Part of the money raised from the quit will be used to send special education teacher Mary McMahon to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. She will be part of the July 2008 .trip led by Monteverde Conservation League, U.S. (now known as Friends of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest) founder Rachel Crandell. Upon her return, McMahon will share what she learned and use her experience to promote rainforest education and awareness. The rest of the money will go support the Children’s Eternal Rainforest environmental education.
Once completed the quilt will be approximately 7.5 x 6 feet wide. There are 144, 5 x 5 inch squares, hand painted with plants, animals, or insects that are found in the rainforest on five colored backgrounds, which represent the layers of the rainforest; blue for the sky, yellow for the canopy and tops of the trees, light green for the understory, and medium to dark green for the forest floor.
There will be four 10 x 10 corner squares and 14, 10 x 10 inch donor squares along the sides. The embroidery for these outer squares is being donated by Lil’ Stitches.
The centerpiece of the quilt is a large fabric painting that represents two children’s rainforest books, The Forever Forest: Kids Save a Tropical Treasure by Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini and Rachel Crandell, and The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry, to connect reading with conservation and rainforest education.
The completed quilt will hang in the Macomb Public Library over the summer and then will be available for “checkout” to classrooms in the area for use during their study of the rainforest.