Things are Happening...

It's been a busy start to 2015. Our second SEEDclassroom is now OPEN in Pittsburgh, thanks to Phipps Conservatory. Our third SEEDclassroom is under contract and will be placed at a public school in Washington by the end of summer. Our fourth SEEDclassroom is now in the contract phase for Mary McCleod Bethune Day Academy, a charter school in Washington DC (hoping to get it there by this fall!)... We are actively developing our online SEEDpatch so our first FOUR SEEDclassooms can beta test it for us - see how the real time tracking works, how the teachers and kids utilize the online platform to post and share lessons and data with each other and the world, how our crowd sourced education platform works and grows. 

We have continued to get a slew of press and inquiries, and it just keeps churning along. I can't wait to see what happens in the next months. We will keep everyone posted. Still feel so humbled and blessed to be on this journey. We can see the impact we hoped to make starting to happen, but we want more. More kids to learn in sustainable classrooms. More kids to understand the positive imprint they can make on the environment, if they have the awareness, empathy, skills and inspiration to take action. More positive impact. It's coming!

You Don't Just Learn in the Building, You Learn from the Building

Today was a big day. The Perkins School opened the doors of their SEEDclassroom to students and parents. The first SEEDclassroom officially has a home, and Perkins is putting their imprint on it already. 

There are plants hanging from the ceiling, little ants on the walls for the kids to find, and quotes like "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it" displayed everywhere. We took all of this in, with smiling faces and blessed souls.  

It's hard to express how it feels to know that we have a SEEDclassroom at a school - a school that embraces its purpose with open arms, both in terms of what it can teach their students and how it might positively impact the design and construction of classrooms everywhere, for all kids. We couldn't have better partners and advocates, and we can't wait to be observers over the first year of its life at Perkins.

Here's a pretty cool example... The Perkins 5th graders were asked, as their unit on advertising, to create ads for the SEEDclassroom.  The ads were framed on the wall of the SEEDclassroom today, and we saw them for the first time. Here are some of the quotes. They truly say it better than we can. We are constantly amazed and humbled by how quickly kids embrace and take ownership of everything a SEEDclassroom offers them. If only more adults in positions to force change could think like kids again. We're working on that!

"You don't just learn in the building, you learn from the building."

"SEED - The new life of science."

"Make the greener choice and the better choice for your money. There's a better choice than portables"

"SEED: learn, live, love"

"The SEED is the best and outlasts the rest!"

"Trying to create healthier education spaces"

"SEED: Do you want your kids to have fun while learning?"

"SEED: The better place to learn"

 

 

Our Executive Director, On Maya Angelou's Passing

Our lives are made up of a series of moments, tiny blips on a radar screen that collectively chart our course as we navigate life’s waters. We weather storms, relish calm seas and attempt to stay afloat. It’s moments like today when we say goodbye to a truly good soul that cut to my core and threaten to capsize me. We need more good souls, and losing one hurts.

I listened to Angelou reciting her poem, "On the Pulse of Morning," at Clinton’s inauguration and it made me wonder what cultivates a good soul. The honesty and bravery in her words come from somewhere deep inside her. I imagine that poem was not hard for her to write – it was resting in her soul waiting for just the right moment to reveal itself. I imagine this because I know the feeling – that burning in your chest, somewhere between your heart and your stomach, that tells you there is something important to do or say. I’ve felt it and I think I get emotional when we lose someone like Maya because I fear that those like her who truly honor the feeling and celebrate it openly are a numbered few. Maya did it over and over again with her words.

I think we all start as good souls. We all have the ability to make an impact and leave our unique positive imprint. But there’s something that happens to many of us that clouds our ability to recognize our soul’s unique call to action, some flaw in our human nature that continues to make us more and more the victims and slaves to time, greed, excess, ego and the fear of failure. We are losing sight of what has truly allowed us to sustain as long as we have – it’s not war or money or empire. It’s our ability to love each other, appreciate the beauty of the world around us, and celebrate the strength and fortitude of the human spirit in moments of loss and triumph. Maya was one of those with the ability to stay aware, who took it upon herself to remind us and shock us back into action. Her words will continue to guide us long past her days on earth. "On the Pulse of Morning" continues to guide me. Thank you, Maya.

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers- desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours- your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning. 

Maya Angelou

Our first SEEDclassroom takes root.

Three days ago, we planted our prototype SEEDclassroom at its permanent home. I was there at 6:00 am, anxiously awaiting its arrival on two flatbed semi-trucks, with butterflies in my stomach and the inability to stand still. The prototype was built almost a year ago so we could display it for a month in Seattle and show educators, designers and anyone else who wandered in off the street what exactly we had been talking about, but it felt like I was seeing it for the first time again. I had missed it. And over the course of a year had forgotten a little bit - forgotten just how inspiring the SEED truly is. There’s something magical about how it feels inside, that I didn’t create. It just exists. It lives in the space, maybe because the space was built to be living.

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Getting a SEED to Jasper

As many of you know, the SEED Collaborative began thanks largely from the inspiration our co-founders gleaned from a group of high school student from Jasper, Alberta of all places.  The SEEDclassroom prototype was designed with and for these students, with the intention that it would be displayed in Seattle and travel up to Jasper to be set there permanently - our gift to them. 

We set our sights high, aiming to fundraise the cost of the prototype's construction through monetary and in-kind donations, in less than one year's time. And with the Jasper community's help, we did make a big dent. But we didn't make it all the way.

The reality of business and money, even when born with the best intentions, has set in and the prototype is currently slated to be purchased by a school near Seattle, to cover our costs of building the first SEEDclassroom. 

That being said, we are still committed to getting a SEEDclassroom to Jasper, no matter how long it takes us. And we ask for your help. Jasper is amazing - they've raised over $50,000 themselves. We have funds to add from donations specifically for Jasper over the past year and are fully committed to putting a portion of profits on future purchased SEEDclassrooms toward the Jasper SEEDclassroom. But if we could get these kids their SEED faster with help from you, that would make our day. Actually, it would make our year. Please do what you can and help us fulfill our promise to these kids. They are amazing. They deserve it. And I think they understood the potential impact of what we are trying to do before we even did: http://theseedcollaborative.org/donate/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzf-uvRj8jM&list=UUb1SzLkaO8MkCgEKZqClqYw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKSi1DvbXpQ&list=UUb1SzLkaO8MkCgEKZqClqYw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBQ-YXYXq3I&list=UUb1SzLkaO8MkCgEKZqClqYw

 

 

 

What inspires you?

We have discovered over the past year of launching the SEED Collaborative that inspiration really is the catalyst for a lot of the why and what we do, personally and with what we are trying to accomplish through our work. So we asked ourselves: what truly inspires us? Below is is Stacy, our Executive Director's, narrative for your perusal. We challenge you to ask yourself where your inspiration comes from, what pushes you to reach for lofty goals or put in the extra effort at work or at home every day? Inspiration matters! 

 "What inspires me...?

Gosh, a lot of things do. I think I’m kind of programmed to seek out sources of inspiration that awaken my spirit and push me to take whatever I’ve found inspiration in and multiply it to reach as many others as I can.

I know this is the case with the Living Building Challenge, coupled with the inspiration I have found in the unbridled creativity and optimism that children possess when provided with opportunities to be uninhibited in their thinking. I’m also inspired by the thought that something I create could have the potential to positively impact our environment in a way that will increase the health of the world my son and his kids and their kids are able to experience and enjoy - That it could live well beyond me and continue to catalyze change long after I’m gone. This is what has inspired my work over the past few years and what continues to fuel me to keep on going when things seem impossible, or my plate is too full. The inspiration is always there and the fire is always lit, but when it does dim I have within my network of friends, colleagues and family the ability to reach out to some of my sources of hope and passion and get a little boost when I need it. I think that’s vitally important. You have to have people there to remind you why you started down your chosen path and what it’s all for.

You have to be open to letting others know that you are human and have moments of doubt, because that can be inspiring too. The fact that you can recognize those moments of weakness and face the challenge of continuing head on, with honesty and conviction. I’ve been there, I’ll be there again, and I’ll keep going. I want to see what my inspiration might inspire in others and where it takes me, what it leads to. That drives me through whatever road blocks I may encounter. I want to see what happens next, I want to find that next source of inspiration and see what is born from it, what I can do with it, who I can inspire in turn and what they then do… So, what inspires you...?"