The Ducks & Us On The Radio

Pamela Sackett was interviewed about The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie Sunday, July 18, 2010, on ‘Conversations’ with Lizz Sommars on these stations:

  • KMTT, 103.7 FM, ‘The Mountain’, between 6:00 – 7:00 a.m.
  • KISW, 99.9 FM, ‘The Rock’, between 6:00 – 7:00 a.m.
  • KKWF, 100.7 FM, ‘The Wolf’, between 7:00 – 8:00 a.m.
  • KNDD, 107.7 FM, ‘The End’, between 7:00 – 8:00 a.m.

The interview is also available on KMTT’s web site, www.kmtt.com. (Must scroll way down to find…click the black play button by the speaker icon on a gray background.)

The Ducks & Us Heads To The Movies

What do Columbia City Cinema, a one-stop, triple-screen neighborhood movie house seated in the most ethnically diverse zip code in America and Far Away Entertainment, a nine-location movie house with over thirty screens in the state of Washington have in common? Come July and August, both are getting behind Emotion Literacy Advocates (ELA)—a local, arts-based non-profit using the arts to promote social-emotional learning—by booking ELA’s latest creation: The Ducks & Us Song Book Movie.

Slotted as a pre-feature attraction, The Ducks & Us Song Book Movie is a children’s-style musical story with illustration, animation and video by Art Institute of Seattle interns and background vocals from the Northwest Boychoir. In under seven minutes, the movie wraps reading literacy, environmental literacy and emotion literacy into an empathic message for anyone who thinks bringing left-over bread, seeds and table scraps to the park benefits wildlife.

The big screen version is based on ELA’s learning tool, The Ducks & Us, an original song CD and study guide by ELA’s founding artist Pamela Sackett. The CD was incorporated into Seattle Audubon learning programs in 2008 and is distributed through the education and outreach arm of the Graham Visitors Center at Washington Park Arboretum. The concept grew out of Sackett’s devotion to healthy urban parks and her frustration, after spending a year trying to convince the city to post signs in strategic places.

“Apparently I have no fond memories of sharing my food with ducks, so I was free to embrace the science. I trusted the facts and wished I could convey their relevance to many park visitors who throw pizza, cookies, crackers, burritos and bread, thinking that wildlife needs it.” After her daily walk in the park, Sackett spent several months gently offering Progressive Animal Welfare Society flyers to folks, attempting to substantiate her requests to curtail the activity.

At an early point, a city of Seattle Parks and Recreation employee offered to assist. She approached an older man throwing food from his truck and, later, let Sackett know the man did not comprehend her request to stop. Sackett decided then to delve deeper, observe and converse with a wide range of people throwing food in the park.

“I came to understand how incomplete the science part of the equation can be, especially when it comes to behavior change. Just about every human circumstance has a social-emotional component, ” said Sackett. “An artfully told story can let people know they are heard and understood, as well as convey new information.”

Sackett parlayed quite a bit of good will in support of The Ducks & Us Song Book Movie project. A substantial in-kind contribution from Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, a Los Angeles-based company, will enable ELA’s digital movie to be projected on a sixty-foot cinema screen.

“I am confident that wherever The Ducks & Us Song Book Movie goes, so too will go an opportunity to learn how to engage with more open eyes, ” said Sackett.

Look for The Ducks & Us Song Book Movie at Columbia City Cinema and Far Away Entertainment screens in July and August. For more information, the tour schedule and to see The Ducks & Us Song Book Movie trailer, click here.

Click here for the PDF of this news item.

ELA Participates in Summer Event

Emotion Literacy Advocates™ (ELA) joined with the city of Seattle in the “Healthy Parks, Healthy You” event, Saturday, August 22, 2009, at Seward Park.

ELA gave out informational brochures and spoke with dozens of participants about The Ducks & Us Song CD and study guide, which was inspired by activities in Seward Park.

Our thanks to the Windermere Foundation and Silvia Wilson for support and enthusiasm in our educational mission!

The Northwest Boys Choir Sings for The Ducks & Us

ELA is developing a new learning tool entitled The Ducks & Us—an original song CD with study guide. The Ducks & Us focuses on wildlife safety and protection and compassionately juxtaposes the science of wildlife protection with the social-emotional nature of human engagement with wildlife.

ELA is excited that Northwest Boys Choir, conducted by Ben Kromholtz, elected to participate. Kromholtz arranged harmonies for the choir and directed the boys at an ELA-coordinated recording session at KUOW studios, September 24, 2007, engineered by Guy Nelson.

The recording session was a first for many of the choir members, ranging in age from 8 to 11, and gave them valuable experience in the rigors of recording, such as maintaining quiet and intense focus for long periods of time. The boys performed flawlessly, even with some last-minute changes in harmonies.

The Ducks & Us artfully demonstrates—through stories gleaned from a year of researching duck “feeders” in urban parks—hearing, understanding and including human needs with non-human realities for a systemic approach to environmental care and protection.

ELA is in process of study guide completion, working with a number of environmental educators and scientists—from Seattle City Parks, Audubon, PAWS, WA State Fish and Wildlife, Pacific Science Center and other non-profit environmental protection agencies—interested in integrating this learning tool into their programs. ELA is developing a web site for an interactive public awareness campaign and plans to offer the song in choral arrangement for youth groups and schools.

For further details, song samples, study guide excerpts and sponsorship information, contact ducksandus AT emolit DOT org.

Windermere Foundation Supports ELA at Street Fair

The Windermere Foundation joined with Emotion Literacy Advocates™ (ELA) to provide The Full Spectrum Birthday Song to children and families at the 2008 Educational Resource Street Fair.

Thanks to this generous sponsorship, over two hundred families now have a vital message of love and acceptance. In addition, ELA staff and volunteers gave away “Five Ways To Think Favorably About Feelings” brochures and raised awareness of the essential role of social-emotional education.

Emotion Literacy Advocates™ Launches Innovative Concept in Community Education: The Full Spectrum Birthday Song CD Gift Program for Children

Seattle, Washington (Spring 2007) — How does a group of independent artists who advocate for emotion literacy awareness go about promoting hard-to-pin-down, yet essential concepts in emotion literacy for children? Emotion Literacy Advocates™ (ELA), does it with a birthday song.

The idea in the song is simple enough: to understand the language of feelings, invite them all to your celebration, for starters. To actually get the song to children who would benefit from this message is another story.

ELA’s initial success was with ELSOTA! (Emotion Literacy School ON THE AIR), a compact disk and sixteen-page study guide that has been incorporated into Seattle Public Schools health education curriculum. This time, the ELA board of directors was aiming to spread understanding of “soft” skills further, quicker and beyond academic settings.

Compounding the conundrum: most of the children ELA is interested in reaching are in no position to pay for a learning tool, no matter how excellent; the social service organizations that serve children are notoriously under-funded; the children served by these organizations dearly need the advantages of social-emotional learning.

ELA’s solution: the gift economy. Responsible individuals and business owners want to give back to the community, but often lack time and expertise to evaluate what is needed. Professionals in non-profit organizations know what would help the children they serve, but struggle to fund what they need. ELA decided to connect the expertise of helping professionals with the generosity of forward-thinking sponsors for the benefit of children—and to fulfill ELA’s mission: to create learning forums for insight into emotion through language and the arts. By giving a gift of ELA’s song, sponsors give experts a useful tool.

The next step was to see how the idea would fly. In August 2006, ELA contacted Children’s Hospital to gauge interest in ELA’s latest learning tool, The Full Spectrum Birthday Song (or Why Just Happy?). The response was encouraging. The Child Life Department requested CDs for their birthday gift program and music therapist David Knott loaded the song into his iPod to use as a resource for in-patients. Another call led to Treehouse for Kids, a non-profit organization supporting children in the foster care system. Treehouse evaluated The Full Spectrum Birthday Song, then enthusiastically requested 1,200 copies.

To date, ELA is pleased to count twenty-three non-profit, city, state and national organizations that have requested 8,000 gift CDs. The CD gift program touches children in hospitals, foster care, learning centers, emergency and transitional housing and through programs focused on mentorship, parent training, success and self-sufficiency.

“It’s faith producing to see how many organizations recognize and value the gift of social-emotional learning wrapped in a song,” says Pamela Sackett, who originated the music and lyrics. Executive directors, child specialists, case managers and program heads closely scrutinized the song. “Such conscientious examination assures ELA and our sponsors that we are placing The Full Spectrum Birthday Song CD gift into capable and caring hands,” says Sackett, “The arts can do so much when generated and applied with clear intention.”

Sponsors are lining up, too. Gifts of materials and services from both the west and east coasts along with a grant from the Windermere Foundation has resulted in ELA producing an initial run of CDs and fulfilling the first 8,000 requests in June, 2007.

Of course, individual and group purchases of The Full Spectrum Birthday Song CD help support the gift program’s growth.

With systems thinking at its core and mutual inclusivity one of its organizing principles, ELA’s characteristic approach invites uncharacteristic considerations. As Windermere representatives said, “We had to think outside the box for this. We’re glad we did because it allowed us to recognize the important aspect that ELA is addressing; we’re excited about the nurturing component.”

ELA aims to reach more organizations, state by state, and see how far this “perceptual nudge” as Sackett puts it, can go. Sackett adds, “We all have a day of birth, however culturally disparate the nature of our acknowledgement of that fact can be. Birthdays are undeniable and a great catalyst for sparking a celebration of all our feelings on that especially poignant day and every day!”