What do you love about your city?

June 21, 2016
by Lindsay
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So much love at The Paper Place’s Crafternoon

paper place love lettering project

Is there anything dreamier than being surrounded by the city’s most beautiful paper for an entire afternoon, writing letters with the loveliest folks? Nope! I had the best time The Paper Place‘s Crafternoon this June (and yes, I did come home with a lighter wallet and a lot of washi tape…!)

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June 7, 2016
by Lindsay
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Saturday, June 11: Crafternoon at The Paper Place

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SO excited to be hosting a Love Lettering Project Crafternoon event this Saturday at The Paper Place! Glorious, beautiful paper and love letter writing ALL AFTERNOON?! Yes please!

Join us!

Saturday, June 11, 1-4pm at 887 Queen St. W

13LoveLetteringProjectRhya3Photo by Rhya Tamasauskas

Be warned: I might buy the entire wall of washi tape

June 6, 2016
by Lindsay
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30 days of nature: The David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Challenge wrap-up

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I spent all of May spending outside. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I spent A LOT of time outside in May for the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Challenge. I partnered with them, and asked people to write love letters to nature and was floored daily by the responses. I’d scroll through Instagram and Twitter (using: #30x30challenge and #lovenature) and revel in the beauty of the natural world and in how and where people spent their 30 minutes/day in nature. It was so wonderful.

I had the most lovely wrap-up meeting with Aryne Sheppard, David Suzuki Foundation’s Senior Public Engagement Specialist, and an absolute gem of a human being, and she shared the stats with me:

  • 68 countries took part
  • Nearly 13,000 individuals registered
  • 821 schools registered (think of how many students that is!!)
  • 463 workplaces registered.

My heart is full to bursting. Truly. That is a whole lot of people spending time in the natural world, thinking and reflecting on what it means to them, and how it changes and shapes who they are.

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I generally spend a lot of time outside with my 15-month-old, but there was something about the CHALLENGE part of it that transformed our time outside. There was intention. I biked to parks I’ve never been to. We spent a lot of time exploring. My son discovered ants. And tree bark and pinecones (both of which he infatuated with!). We planted a garden (including milkweed!). We spent so much time by the river, by the lake, in Toronto’s High Park. There were near-daily picnics. And on the one day I didn’t spend at least 30 minutes outside, I felt cagey and cooped up and it furthered my resolve to be outside, really be outside. It is truly an extraordinary practice and I feel so grateful for the DSF Challenge for the big huge reminder.

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Over the month of May, we watched the tulips, the daffodils and the allium bloom, then the lilacs and the forget-me-nots. My son ate his weight in dandelion seeds (we’re still working on blowing the seeds, not eating them like a lollipop).

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BARK! Jack’s newest discovery.


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PS: Check out these incredible letters students wrote to nature (and these are such a small fraction of the letters DSF received!)

June 5, 2016
by Lindsay
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Love Letters to Nature: The School Edition

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How incredible is this? When I think about love, I think about lilies. When I think about hope, I think about a tree growing. 

The only thing better than reading letters from kids is reading their love letters to nature. Case in point:

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The biggest thank you to all the 812 (!!) schools who took part in the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Challenge in May. And an extra special thank you to all of the school who mailed in their letters. DSF’s Senior Public Engagement Specialist, Aryne Sheppard and I were brought to tears by the thoughtful, heartfelt letters.

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The letters above were sent in from: Ms. Knight’s Grade 7 class at Munns Public School in Oakville, ON the Kindergarten and Grade 2 classes from Holy Family School in Grinshaw, AB, and the top photo is from the most incredible package from a school in Toronto, complete with photos they took of their caterpillars and butterfly release project. 

June 5, 2016
by Lindsay
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May’s 30×30 winning love letters

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For the entire month of May, I partnered with the David Suzuki Foundation and asked people to write love letter to nature. Each winning love letter received amazing prize packages from Genuine Health! Congratulations to May’s 30×30 Challenge winning love letters to nature!!

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Week One’s letter by Minna KW!

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Andy P’s daughter’s love letter to the amaryllis in the garden!

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So beautiful, Krista.

Love you, nature!!
xoxo

June 5, 2016
by Lindsay
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The most wonderful love letter to nature

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As the David Suzuki Foundation’s#‎30x30Challenge wrapped up, close to 60 elders from different parts of the world joined together in Vancouver to write love letters to nature. Elder Li Chen shared her love letter:

大自然,
你那温暖的陽光, 清新的空氣和潔淨的水就如母親的乳汁一樣,
哺育着我們一代一代健康成長.
大自然用你那翠綠的樹林, 五彩繽紛的花草, 裝扮着四周的環境, 讓我們天天精神百倍, 活力十足地生活着.
大自然, 我們深深熱愛着您, 親近您, 保護您.
感謝您給予我們這一切.
陳力, Li Chen.
五月廿六曰, 二零一六年

Nature,
Your warm sunshine, clean air and water nurture us like a mother’s milk. You help us grow, generation after generation, to become healthy and strong.
Your jade-green forests and five-coloured flowers and grass dress up our environment in four corners.
You energize us everyday and give us strength to live life to the ten-full (fullest)
Nature, we deeply love you, we want to get close to you and protect you.
Thank you for giving us everything.
Li Chen. May 26, 2016

How amazing is this??!!

May 26, 2016
by Lindsay
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All the learning. All of it.


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In all my years of teaching, I’ve always wanted to get structured feedback on the workshops I do. I always get some, but it’s usually in passing – before recess, or while students line up for lunch – and/or anecdotal.

I’m so excited about and so proud of this five-day curriculum I’ve created and I really wanted to know what really worked and how I could improve it. I got that in spades. The students were so generous and articulate with their feedback, it was astonishing.

(The overall outcomes: too much brainstorming, not nearly enough time with the good copies. Noted!)

But the biggest, most important piece of feedback I got was that they got it. They GOT IT, this whole crazy thing I’ve been doing for 12 years. They got that “a simple letter can make someone’s day.” That you can “write letters to places as if they were people.” That if you “share love around you, it makes everyone happy.” That our “neighbourhoods are better than they think they are.”

Cue the confetti cannons (and the tears!)

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In the workshop, we wrote love letters to the school, to the students’ neighbourhoods, and then hide them for strangers to find. THEN, we imagined who found our community letters. From these (incredible!) character sketches, we then wrote letters BACK from these characters. I was so excited about it, and it turns out, so were the students:

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I love teaching in schools so much, it often renders me speechless. Case in point:

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May 12, 2016
by Lindsay
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The most extraordinary morning

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This morning I was part of something incredible. The students I’ve been working with at Broadacres through tdsbCREATES took love letters they had written to nature to a nearby long term care home. The students sang for the seniors, read their letters aloud (into a microphone! FUN!), then hand delivered their letters to the elderly audience. It was truly exceptional to see these students share what they love about the natural world, and to see the seniors receive these letters. So powerful.

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The Grade 4s worked with their teacher on brainstorming what people who don’t get to be outside often would miss and these are a few of the letters they came up with.

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What an extraordinary morning.

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May 7, 2016
by Lindsay
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Broadacres Public School: Taking huge imaginative leaps

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Learning what 10-year-olds love about their neighbourhoods never ceases to inspire me. In my residency as an artist mentor through tdsbCREATES, I’ve asked my students at Broadacres to write love letters to the school, and then their neighbourhoods and hide them for strangers to find.

Last week, I decided to see if we could make a big creative leap and imagine who might’ve found the letters they had hidden. And not only that, we then wrote letters back from these (fictional!) strangers.

Check out these incredible letters:

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Dear Montgomery Inn,
I love the way you have an almost impossible to beat rustic image. It makes you look like one of the seven wonders of the world. Your farmer’s market has the best fruits and vegtables ever! I hope lots of people know about you
Sincerely,
Someone

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Dear ????,
Thank you for the love letter that you hid for someone to find.
Turns out it was me. I was having the worst day ever. The Orlando Magic lost by 50 points, I read a book of mythology where Perseus lost and turned to stone, I wasn’t going to become a detective today but maybe next year. That was before I found your love letter in 15 and 11 Micheal Power Place parking spaces under my windshield wiper. I read your love letter and it helped me get through the day. I read it to the entire police academy. Everyone loved it and asked me who wrote it. I said I don’t know. That letter helped me become a detective. Thank you for the letter. I really want to go to Montgomery Inn know because I love old, rustic scenes.
Signed, Detective Bill Saunders
P.S. can you write me one more letter? The other guys are dying for another love letter during our coffee and donut break!!!

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Dear Eatonville Public Library,
I like your books, how I have many choices to choose from. I like your novels, like the genius files, and how you give out free passes to things like the ROM, the AGO, and the Toronto Zoo. I also like how you have these contests, like the super sleuth activity. I like how you have the computer, where you can look for any book and play library games.
Sincerely,
???

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Dear ????,
Thank you SO, SO, SO, much for the Love Letter I found in the library, in a book. I was feeling VERY sad and down because I was going to go to the zoo, but the Okapi exhibit was closed because of construction! I also got a C+ on a math test, just because I got 3 out of 7!! I also was going to soccer, but they all went on a TRIP!! Thank you for telling me about the bookmark contest, I will definitly try them!! You made me very happy, thank you!
Sincerely,
Josh

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Dear Tom’s Dairy Qeen,
I love your ice cream and burgers I love the area that your in and I love your different tiypes of flavours my favouriteis  ice cream flavour is cookie dough my favourite burger has lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, chese, and kechup and that’s what I love about toms dairy Queen.
From: ?
To: You

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Dear: ???
Thank you for the letter to Toms dairy freeze!
I found it on the picnik table I had the worst day ever but that letter you gave me opened up my day and made it better I loved it THANKS agin! PS I loved it so much that I am going to keep it for ever and every day I will read it and it will make my day the best!
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xoxoxo