- Associated Press - Thursday, July 23, 2015

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - When Elise Pike was younger, she and her neighbor made stop-motion animation projects on winter days when it was too cold to go outside.

Now, as the assistant program director of the neighborhood outreach program Patchwork Central, she’s continuing her love of stop-motion alongside the “Art Garden” campers.

“We started doing it for fun. Then my aunt Jane (Vickers, Patchwork director of arts and education) suggested I start doing it here,” Pike said.

Patchwork’s summer programs always begin and end with Art Garden Weeks - the first in the beginning of June, with the last ending July 23.

In response to the decline of Monarch butterflies, Patchwork chose to revolve the summer, specifically the Art Garden weeks, around this topic.



The Patchwork campers planted a butterfly garden, made clay butterflies and caterpillars for stop-motion and learned about the migration patterns of the Monarchs.

“My hope is that (kids will) spend a lot less time on the computer and have more of an outlet for their creativity than just being on the Internet,” Pike said. “A lot of them are always talking about Internet things. Hopefully this will open up new things for them to do when they’re bored and help them learn what their talents are.”

Vickers said this program will give the campers the opportunity to explore new areas of interest that may become their passion.

“We want them to find what they’re passionate about, what sparks them, what gets them excited,” she said. “Research shows that when someone finds something they are passionate about, they focus on that and it keeps them from risky behavior and helps them grow and figure out who they are. That’s what goes on this summer.”

Storyteller Susan Fowler taught the campers about the migration of the Monarchs and the problems the species is facing, using the anniversary of the first moon landing to explain the butterflies’ trip from Canada to Mexico.

“These are little guys, and they take long treks, so … we’re going to honor and talk about our long trek from this planet to the moon, much like the long trek the monarchs take from Canada to Mexico,” Fowler said.

The butterflies’ challenges, Fowler said, are that people are cutting down trees and plants along the way. The milkweed is the only plant on which they’ll put their eggs.

“Part of the awareness is appreciation of wildflowers and milkweeds,” she said.

“My job as a storyteller is to take the theme and bring it to life,” Fowler said. “So I go down to the library and get about 25 children’s books on butterflies and then we read and research and the kids will come and we’ll act it out for stop-motion. Some kids were monarchs and some kids were milkweed and then we acted out the migration of them.”

Renee Wilson, 12, has come to Patchwork for three years and said stop-motion is one of her favorite projects.

“I love stop-motion,” she said as the rest of the campers planned an impromptu skit behind her. “I’ve been a lot of characters. I was Susan, I was a drummer and now I don’t know what I’m about to be.”

Wilson is home-schooled, so Patchwork is like school to her, she said.

“In the school year, I usually come Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and then I come to basically all the summer programs,” Wilson said. “It’s just so awesome. All of my friends are here.”

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Source: Evansville Courier & Press, https://bit.ly/1CQy1tw

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com

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