In the month of August, 2020, we are still reeling and dealing with continued health care issues and safety protocols for our families and neighborhoods as the COVID virus continues to creep through our communities. Asking and searching for solutions to how our children and youth will return to school—or not—at the end of this month is a reality.

As we continue to navigate the new paths you may be choosing to take, and in tandem with the facilitator/mentor training we are currently offering, I (penny) will share some suggestions for offering permaculture designed educational options with children and youth, and families.

INTRODUCTION: What is a Permablitz? Permablitz is an informal gathering involving a day on which a group of at least two people, or a whole neighborhood block of families come together to achieve the following:

~Create or add to edible gardens based on principles and ethics of permaculture

~Share skills related to permaculture and sustainable living

~Build community of like-minded people

~Have fun

The term permablitz is a contraction of permaculture + blitz, where a blitz simply means a focused effort to get something done.

Permablitzes are always free, public events, with free workshops and shared food, where you get some exercise and have a good time. Permablitzes run on reciprocity, which means you build a network with others “blitzing” on each other’s property/home-spaces.

“Officially” speaking, to be defined as a permablitz each event must be underpinned by a permaculture design by someone with a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) – the most basic permaculture qualification.

Here’s an easy to follow structure and guide for a one-day perma-blitz or day-camp. This outline is focused on involving children and youth, with a facilitator/mentor team as well, and with consideration of the developmental phases and learning styles:

1. Opening/Morning. If this is a more than one day blitz or camp, recap any previous days content or work you’ve accomplished.ts well as, tools and resources available and organized. Be prepared to demonstrate and give safety protocols for tool usage. Designate older youth to partner with young ones and act as guides.

2. Introduce any new steps to your new day’s project or lessons. Remember to make the content user friendly for at least three learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic. If I don’t have everything pre-made in the form of a simple, readable and illustrated chart, I like to use live graphic facilitation whenever possible. Drawing, storytelling or guiding along as you go, demonstrates all three learning styles listed above. Always have drawing materials available for children! Graphic or visual recording is great if you are outdoors with no electricity in sight. Having a small-scale white board with non-toxic dry erase markers works well. I take rolls of butcher paper and unfurl it in a line so that kids can draw in mural style. The used butcher paper can be put on display later for the gallery walk and it can be composted in the garden as mulch, or in your worm bin.

3. After Lunch. Recall morning lesson and focus on action! Keep it physical/hands-on. You can wander in the woods and use games that link up and crossover the theme you were sharing in the morning

4. Closing. A gallery walk. A show/talk/share discussing questions such as:Where were we?What did we do?What will we take with us into our time away from each other?

​5. Goodbye until we meet again! Have a closing circle and remember to get everyone’s contact information, for next time!

Let us know if you plan and host a permablitz and how it went!

~article by `Penny Krebiehl for Little Artshram friends and family

Bringing Permaculture to our Community: Permablitz with Children and
Earthrise, taken on December 24, 1968,
by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders.

Our Northern Michigan home place and the snowy landscape is slowly changing. We’ve heard the first of the spring birdsong coming from the treetops, and we are making note of an annual Springtime holiday that we’ve celebrated for many years with our communities in April: Earth Day! 

This year In 2020 we celebrate 50 years of taking pause and making efforts to stop and turn around the destruction and lack of conscious caring for our planet home. It’s been a lot of work and effort and we surely have not accomplished all of what we’ve set out to do as caretakers and citizens of a shared place. 

We are pleased to look back on 20 some years of the 49 Earth Days past having gathered together and working alongside of SO, so many talented artists and musicians, hundreds of children, teens, entire families and school classrooms, along with the City of Traverse City, the Neahtawanta Center, Art Center/Women’s Resource Center and The Circuit. This just names a few of the people and organizations who’ve been involved in helping to make the Earth Day date on our human-made calendar a worthy and real holiday! 

This year, to mark the significant golden anniversary of our shared love of our life on Earth, Little Artshram will partner with Title Track a new organization that is celebrating its 1st anniversary, on Sunday April 26th, at The Circuit in Traverse City. 

Little Artshram will be partnering with the Title Track Family Day at The Grand Traverse Circuit “Community Cultural Arts, Wellness, & Education”, Traverse City – session one: 3pm, session two: 5pm, variety show: 7pm.

CHECK BACK! MORE info forthcoming with an offering of becoming an Earth Day Art Ambassador and contribute your creativity to this celebration! 

Last but not least, we’ve included below an excerpt from the Sierra Magazine with a little background on the birth of Earth Day:

The United States had never experienced anything like it: On April 22, 1970, nearly one in 10 Americans flooded the streets and the woods and the seashores to call for an end to the merciless pollution of the country’s air, waters, and landscapes. In the words of Senator Gaylord Nelson, the Wisconsin Democrat who conceived the idea of Earth Day, the goal was to force the issue of environmental protection “permanently onto the national political agenda”—and in that, the effort succeeded.

The conservation movement that existed before 1970 was largely made up of white, affluent outdoors-people who mostly focused on the protection of birds and other wildlife, the preservation of wilderness, and the establishment of parks and preserves. The environmental movement that was born on Earth Day aspired to something larger—a multiracial cause, propelled by the same passion that spurred the civil rights and anti–Vietnam War movements, dedicated to preserving urban environments as well as wild ones, and inspired by the ecological insight that our home is the whole planet.

Since then, the influence of Earth Day has waxed and waned; at times it has seemed little more than an occasion for corporate greenwashing. But the fieriness of the first Earth Day remains like an ember within the original idea. To mark Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, Sierra assembled a collection of activists, organizers, and authors to imagine how it can be reinvigorated and reinvented. While each contributor writes in a different key, together they form a chorus, insistently hopeful that Earth Day 2020 can be another watershed moment—one that leads to a bigger, bolder, and more lasting transformation.

READ the rest of the articles here: EARTH DAY 50 Years

A simple phrase with a lot of intention & effort behind it: Happy Earth Day, Every Day!
Little Artshram (A sister organization of the non-profit 501c3 Greater Lansing ARTSPACE) is the original creator of a hands-on, place-based permaculture learning opportunities and programs for children, youth and their families. Since 1993 we have developed classes, projects and opportunities throughout Michigan in visual, musical and puppet artistry; service to the natural world; and inclusive social activism, serving and forming friendships with hundreds of children and their families.
For the past three years our small staff and board of directors have been creating a platform and development of a project called: Permaculture Education for Children, Youth and Families.
Permaculture Education for Children, Youth and Families (PECYF) is a project created and supported by Little Artshram creating a platform for global networking with permaculture educators and learners, offering community discussion, designing learning opportunities (curriculum) with collaborative partners specifically in Michigan and the Midwest United States. The objective of this project is to design and develop the container/framework, process and content of a series of workshops, programs and trainings using Sociocracy and Permaculture pedagogy as both a model for further K-12 education and development. We believe this project is developing the means to incubate nourishing, alternative learning opportunities for children, youth and their families at a critical time of need.With a long rich history of programming for children and youth in many Michigan communities for over 20 years, we are targeting the Summer of 2020 to bring permaculture design into a greater social-system and anti-oppression networking capacity, through facilitated workshops and introductions of mentor and leadership training. 

We hope you will consider contributing to our longtime and longer term efforts of whole system thinking through art and permaculture learning opportunities.

For further information or to talk with a human about the project, work or dreams made real please contact us!
Good Works: Permaculture Education for Children, Youth and

Hey Ho! Puppet and Masketeers!

There are a couple of great opportunities coming up to join Little Artshram and friends as we pick up our O’k and Pretty Good Players Traveling Theater to share the love of storytelling at the upcoming Earthwork Harvest Gathering Sept 21-23, and off in the distance, next Summer up in the U.P.! Contact us to learn more and get involved!

Pictured here are our star puppeteers Emma and Addie from our show titled “Sun and Rock, honoring author Bryd Baylor.

Here’s a great little vision of this puppet show creation presented at the Traverse City Film Fest.

O’k and Pretty Good Players Traveling Theater heading out!
Want to build a sweet, little community parade to celebrate the natural world and our beautiful planet??? We have TONS of experience and stories to share, AND, experienced artists to connect you with!
Little Artshram offers programs that celebrate creativity and encourage fun, hands-on exploration through the fine-art of observation. We focus skill-building in three areas with a variety of programs: Community Art and Music, Permaculture for kids and adults, OUTLOUD! Girls Groups, Mentoring Youth through our Artist Apprentice Program.
The parade and festival community projects that Little Artshram creates involve LOTSA’ fun and amazing art-making in preparation for what has great potential to become a beloved, annual event! We are artists, musicians, educators and permaculturists that creatively respond with positivity to the problems, solutions, beauty and art of the natural world, for which we are a part of. We believe in celebrating and bridging art + community + the places that we love and share our home with!
We have an outline of “how-to” begin organizing for what we call a Storytelling Parade and Festival, along with basic directions on how to build larger than life-size puppets, masks and costumes. We work with classrooms, organizations and community members to develop a story or theme that can be made into a pageant, parade or performance. Our goal in creating this kind of social art is based on recognizing and developing a way to speak to our love of the places both common and wild that invigorate us as human beings to be the best possible caretakers.
We praise and encourage community building and are not afraid of using the word “volunteer”. Volunteering is a great way to be part of a festival or parade community and to meet like-spirited people. Volunteers make it possible for organizations and our friends and collaborators to offer community based art events like a festival or parade, while acquiring hands-on puppet & mask building skills. More than 43 individuals volunteered nearly 1350 hours to Little Artshram EACH YEAR of parade-building and community events held in Traverse City FOR MORE THAN 12 YEARS. Wowza!
Our artistic staff provides professional leadership(3 full-time artists) for contribution of a planning and design team with community members. These artists ask for and will be paid a living wage. Most of the materials, supplies and additional human-power can be found, donated and gathered from community recycled and natural resources. We invite and encourage community involvement from the very beginning, and this is the way we design and create our work. And, it works!
Here is a video and pictured above and below are a very few examples of our parade work with the Traverse City community, with thanks to videographer/photographer, Petra Daher!
We give recognition and much gratitude to In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, who mentored us for many years!
For more information or to schedule a consultation or presentation contact:
Social Art: Community + Art + The Places we