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Dear Friends of Unity Through Creativity,

The gathering of loving minds at the Bioneers conference this March in Berkeley, CA was expansive, strengthening and focusing. 50 youth from around the country co-created "The Singing Tree of Reproductive Freedom that Restores Mother Earth"  in 15 hours.   The 8' x 4' mural expressed the collective heartache these caring youth are carrying, stemming from the denial of reproductive freedom, land/habitat destruction, and climate injustice.  They transformed their distress into joyous beauty.

The symbolism of the mural includes a pink tree whose roots form a uterus and fallopian tubes; an angel to guide and protect us in this difficult time; the wisdom of the owl; ten trees connected to a heart in a sacred circle; the female, male and trans signs combined and following the spiral of growth; and the miracle of technology as shown by a satellite. 

One student said: “The information at Bioneers about our environmental challenges is really hard.  Being able to paint together and talk really helped me have hope.  

Party for the Planet Singing Tree 

This is a work in progress. Thank you to all those who added your vision and voice in El Paso's at the Earth Fair and at the El Paso Zoo. We are happy to have you here.  Stay tuned for the completion of this mural.

May we reach for sustainability in the hot desert climate, like Eco-El Paso Board member Adrian Aniekwena. May you reach for sustainability wherever you find yourself. We are in this together.

With appreciation,

Laurie and the UTC Team

Fernanda Lugo shares her experience of going to the 2024 Bioneers Conference.

Part 1: On Land and water driving across the US.: Texas to California…

My mentor and friend Laurie Marshall and I drove from El Paso, Texas to the Bay Area for 16 hours, in two days, to bring our Singing Tree Murals and supplies to display and create a mural at the Bioneers Conference, 35th year.

 The road trip was a nice space to connect more ideas and prepare myself for the adventures I'd have in California. On the way, we crossed the hot deserts of Arizona, Tucson, Phoenix, and L.A., and arrived through the large middle of California agriculture. It’s bigger than you’re imagining it. Even bigger. Onward and onward it goes, you can spot orange trees, other citruses, and peaches. Nothing labelled= you just have to know from the shape of the leaves, and branches. It would be nice if it were labelled we thought. “This is where your almond milk comes from” a sign would say. “Thank the migrant workers who work in these fields” another could read. Signs did abound about water and how they (the farmers?) think it should be managed. “Does growing food waste water?” a sign asked. “Newsom, stop wasting our water”.  It was a great road trip to discuss the politics of water rights and management but we came home even more enlightened on the topic since water and land management was a big topic on the Bioneer's conference agenda.

Dear Friends of Unity Through Creativity,

2023 is done and spring is here in El Paso, Texas and Oakland, California! We hope this is a time of new growth for you, your family and your community. We also hope this is a time of new growth for Peace Building in a world that has too much unearned suffering. Our hearts are with those who are experiencing the terror of violence, especially the children, in the Middle East, Ukraine, the Congo, Sudan, Afghanistan, and anywhere people are not safe.

In the midst of the conflicts around the world, we'd like to share the 2023 Milestones of Unity Through Creativity. We served 1,714 people—youth, adults and elders—who learned communication skills while creating 15 Singing Tree® murals. Over 90% of participants report significant increases in their belief that people can create extraordinary results. 11 year-old Victor from Santa Rosa, California summarized the lesson of the Singing Tree Mural Project succinctly: "If you're not fighting, you can make something great together,"   Click here to see all 15 murals and hear insightful comments, We continue to build Martin Luther King's "Beloved Community", one mural at a time.  Below are youth from around the country attending the Bioneers Conference last year.

For the 14th year, the Singing Tree Mural Project will be participating in the Bioneers Conference, offering a hands-on experience to youth and those who wished to join in making a collaborative visual message.  We will be in at University of California in Berkeley on the street in front of the David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way Thursday-Saturday, March 28-30 in the afternoons. Please join us if you are in the Bay area.  We'd love to have you attend this amazing conference with us and make your mark on the mural.

Please enjoy these three short videos of our experiences at Bioneers over the years. The first video grew out of Bioneers 2018; the second one, Bioneers 2013 and the third one, Bioneers 2022.

Stay tuned for exciting updates about Earth Month in El Paso where the themes of Party for the Planet, Creativity Connects with Conservation and Planet vs. Plastics will be featured around the city. What's happening in your community for Earth Month?

We're also excited to expand our offering of stream-lined, accelerated Team Building programs for organizations and businesses. You can learn more here.

Bud, blossom, fruit - that is the rhythm of Spring which we are a part of. May the practice of Peace Building, and Peace Building through Art, amplify this natural evolution with clarity, hope and strength.

You appreciation,

Laurie and the UTC Team

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