“May You Survive and Thrive” Curriculum

Surviving and Thriving Together

In this time of reckoning, repair, and transition, we are committed to supporting congregations like yours with resources that cultivate deep, lasting connection to each other and your local communities and ecosystems. 

We believe this requires going beyond conventional environmental education and curriculum design.

UUMFE is excited to announce the development of “May You Survive and Thrive,” a new multi-generational, arts-based family ministry curriculum designed to cultivate and sustain ecological awareness within and between congregations and communities.

We are looking for congregations like yours to help pilot this draft curriculum! Join the Survive and Thrive Cohort, a cohort of committed congregations who will be among the first to use the curriculum with support from UUMFE and each other.

Find out more and sign up below.

Building lasting connections between people, place, and our faith.

The overarching goals of Survive and Thrive are to:

  • Cultivate Biodiversity Sunday as an annual event on the UU church calendar,
  • Strengthen Unitarian Universalist cultural and spiritual practices of honoring the Web of Life in our congregations, local climate justice events, and at the UUA General Assembly,
  • Strengthen multi-generational relationships and connections between UU climate/environmental team members and the children and youth in their congregation and other congregations across bioregions, and
  • Strengthen Unitarian Universalist communities’ understanding, relationship, and ethic of accountability to Place and to the Rights of Nature.

The Curriculum

Developed by Rev. Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone, and Vassar College students Elliot Porcher, Oliver Mendel, James Grosjean, Grace Cazzaniga, “May You Survive and Thrive” is an accessible, experiential curriculum that facilitates creative, embodied connection to the natural world, each other, and local endangered species and habitats. Our goal is to make this available to congregations across the country to foster a felt, sustained awareness of our 7th principle–our interconnected Web of Life–in this time of climate crisis and transition.

The curriculum culminates with an Endangered Species Creative Art Project, which congregations can use in their own worship and programming, to participate in local eco-activism events, and/or to the annual Procession of the Species at General Assembly! UUMFE will facilitate support for creating the art and representing it at GA, as well as host a virtual maker-space and gallery for sharing with other congregations and teams.

Drawing from methodologies of nature-based education and community arts-organizing, “May You Survive and Thrive” uses collective learning and creativity as a vehicle for integrated, long term community building and social change.

This curriculum is perfect for congregations hoping to build an integrated, multi-generational, and multi-cultural ecological awareness. 

And sign up to join the Pilot Program below!

Survive and Thrive Pilot Program

Survive and Thrive Cohort member congregations will have access to:
  • The full draft curriculum and subsequent versions, including 5 full Lessons, field and research guides, additional resources, and Council of All Species community event script to be used in worship, at climate justice events, or in learning spaces.
  • A virtual makerspace and gallery to use and share additional resources and for congregations to offer mutual support and inspiration in making the art project and implementing other lessons.
  • Monthly “Support & Share” group calls with UUMFE staff to ask questions, give feedback, hear updates, and build relationships with other Cohort members.
  • Additional one-on-one support from UUMFE staff as needed for adapting curriculum to your community and facilitating cumulative creative project.
  • Opportunities to be featured in any UUMFE and other UU publications and communications that result from this Pilot Program.
Survive and Thrive Cohort member congregations will be expected to:
  • Designate a point person to be a liaison with UUMFE and stay connected.
  • Document and share experiences through writing and photos.
  • Participate in “Support & Share” group calls and virtual makerspace and gallery as you are able – can be anyone from your congregation, at least one call and virtual post.
  • Participate in mid-point and final feedback opportunities (will be offered in multiple formats).
  • Make mistakes! Take chances! Get messy! And have fun 🙂 We hope you will embody these activities boldly and authentically, and we look forward to seeing all the creative ways this emerges in your congregation and local ecosystems.

Timeline

Sep 7, 2022, 5pm PST/ 7pm CST/ 8pm EST: Survive and Thrive Info Session

Join UUMFE and other congregations for an informational orientation session. Whether you already have plans for piloting this in your congregation or are looking for more information to decide whether it’s a good fit, we’d love to gather with you!

  • During this 90 minute call, we will:
  • Learn more about the development, content, and possibilities for this curriculum
  • Learn about the Pilot Program and Cohort model for Survive and Thrive
  • Connect with other interested DREs, ministers, congregants, and climate team leaders
  • Share and answer questions about the curriculum and Pilot Program

Facilitators:
Dr. Rev. Leonisa Ardizzone, UUMFE Interim Co-Director of Programs and Partnerships
Stephani Pescitelli, UUMFE Eco-Arts Intern

REGISTER HERE to join this Info Session. 

Ongoing: Join “Support & Share” calls offered in October, November, January, February, March, April, and May to receive updates, share experiences, offer feedback, and connect with other congregations.

May 21, 2023: Biodiversity Sunday! Use this curriculum, your creative project, and additional worship resources from UUMFE to celebrate and honor your local species and the whole beautiful biodiversity of our Web of Life.

June 21-25, 2023: Bring or share your creative projects in the annual UU Procession of Species at General Assembly.

Featured Survive and Thrive Creative Project

Unitarian Universalist Justice for Arizona’s (UUJAZ) project is a beautiful example of telling this fuller story about migration, biodiversity, and climate justice for all. Under the leadership of Casey Clowes, 13 congregations across the Arizona decorated paper cut-outs of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo bird, which were then collected and strung together into a banner and display at GA.

View this video they created that weaves together the story of this endangered bird, the border wall, the land and water flow, and the native O’odham peoples.

What climate justice story is waiting to be uncovered and shared through your congregation?

What sources of insight, connection, and hope might emerge from reconciling the story of your congregation with the story of local species, as well as human communities, land, and water?