Local art teacher at Johnson Elementary, Mary Lu Lovett, is making her contribution to the worldwide peace effort by instructing all three of her fifth grade art classes to become less like humans and more like geese.
For the past few weeks, students in Lovett’s art classes have been combining cardboard, newspaper, tape, paper mache and their own creativity and molding it into a goose representing unity.
“It’s a cooperative learning project,” Lovett said of the seven goose making groups formed in each of her classes. “Each group makes a part and they come together to make a whole goose.”
The goose was chosen specifically for this community school project because the very nature of the goose embodies peaceful cooperation.
By flying in a V formation, each flap of a goose’s wing creates uplift for the bird following it. Consequently, a goose moves through the air 73 percent more effectively when flying in formation than when flying alone.
Geese take turns bearing the brunt of the wind and whenever the lead goose gets tired, it falls out of formation and another takes its place without complaint. The other geese also offer the lead goose honks of encouragement thanking it for its effort.
Even when not in flying formation, geese are extremely loyal to each other. If a single goose gets shot down, two others will follow it to protect it despite potential risk to their own lives.
“They really take care of each other,” Lovett said. “It’s a fantastic cooperative model.”
The Fort Collins community has been very supportive of this project that teaches youth important life lessons. Learning how to get along with others is a skill as important as reading or mathematics. “Not everybody knows how to be cooperative; there are skills that go along with it,” Lovett said.
Upon their completion, the geese will be on display at various locations around the community, most notably the Foothills Fashion Mall and the Lincoln Center.
The geese are just one part of the international Hour for Peace, a worldwide effort to impact current world turmoil in a peaceful manner.
Though the celebration is based upon the principle of Buddha that “With our thought we create the world” and millions of people of all faiths worldwide will gather on December 31 at noon Greenwich meantime (5 a.m. Fort Collins time). Doors to the Lincoln Center will open at 4:30 and after 20 minutes of group silence there will be a variety show.
To pay for the rental of the Canyon West room in the Lincoln Center, a coffee house benefit will be held Dec. 8 from noon to 5 p.m. The event features free coffee and dessert, singing, dancing, poetry, artwork and healing arts such as massage therapy. The Citizens for Peace instrumentalists will be present playing everything from drums to didgeridoos.
Helen Peak, volunteer coordinator of the coffeehouse benefit, has voluntarily devoted a year of her time to this event in hopes that it will grow in numbers from years past because the same 600 people have been attending every year.
“Peace isn’t the absence of war; it’s an inner thing, an individual thing,” said Peak. “Interacting with people is the art of living peace.”
The committee in charge of the Art of Living Peace events hopes that its participants will come to understand what peace means, as some of the children working on the geese have.
“People should learn to work together like geese,” said Raven, one of Lovett’s students. “People should be there for each other.”
For more information concerning Hour for Peace events, visit www.fortnet.org/hr4peace