Celebrating Earth Day with Puppets!
By Jenna Pruner
The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, was the idea of Senator Gaylord Nelson. He asked environmental activist and solar power advocate, Denis Hayes, to co-ordinate a national “teach-in” on various American campuses. The goal was an awareness
campaign on University campuses. The day became a national day of action, attended by 20 million Americans. That number represented 10% of the population of the country at that time.
The first Earth Day was a big success and the beginning of Environmental Protection legislation in the United States. Three months after, President Nixon signed Reorganization Plan No. 3 calling for the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. Five months after that it was made official by the American Senate. Twenty years later, in 1990, Earth Day went global and with the campaign once again in the hands of Denis Hayes the participants went from 20 million, in 1970, to 200 million in 141 countries, in 1990.
Today EarthDay.org notes a global participation of over 1 billion people.
Earth Day is a great reminder of the things we should be striving to do every day, to take better care of Mother Earth.
Up-cycling creatively is one way we at WP Puppet Theatre are celebrating Mother Earth year-round.
Up-cycling is, reusing objects and materials that would have ended up in the trash or recycling bin, to create a product of higher value than what you started with. By up-cycling you can extend the useful life of materials, reduce the need to manufacture new materials, reduce the energy used to transport new materials and recycle old items, and the reduce of the amount of garbage that goes to landfills.
Puppeteers are often experts at giving discarded objects “new life”. Something like a stray sock or lonely mitten can be turned into a tool of connection or entertainment. A friend.
Packaging materials are a gold mine!
So much waste comes from the materials that we use to package everything we buy. Those materials contain so much creative potential.
Masking Tape Mache
Paper and wire are saved from the recycling bin and turned into the structure of these critters.
With a skin of masking tape to hold them together, they are a great base to add the decorative elements that give the puppets their personality.
Single-use plastics no more!
Until single-use plastics are a thing of the past, we have a readily available source of prime puppet-making materials. A quick rinse and a few craft supplies make an engaging afternoon of fun.
We have a PDF to make your own C-D Elephant & Squirrel Cup Puppet HERE
Make sure your puppet doesn’t end up in the trash when you are done. Taking apart your puppet and recycling the component materials is important.
Anyone who does woodworking has a box of offcuts. Pieces that are too small to build much with, make great puppet building components. Other household items repurposed creatively yield interesting results.
See more of our DIY Puppet Projects that you can make with items around the house here.
This Earth Day is a great time to up-cycle some things around you, to make cute puppets and wonderful memories. How do you like to up-cycle some of these materials?
Let us know in the comments.