About Voices From The Land

The Voices from the Land (Voices) project is an exploration and celebration of oral and written language… of science, art, performance and the human imagination.  Voices projects can be done with people of all ages and abilities, in any landscape, with any language. 

Research reveals an ancient and intimate connection between language and landscape, a connection that is found in cultures around the world.  Within each person there is a gifted orator, artist, listener and performer.  Exploring the natural world becomes a way for people to develop these gifts and celebrate their use. 

Voices projects begin as teams (3-4 persons per team) explore the character of a local landscape:  a forest, meadow, stream, beach or other natural site.  Teams can be made of same or mixed-age groups.  Each team selects a part of the natural site that is special to them.  They gather natural materials to work with on-site:  leaves, sticks, ice, snow, mud, stone, sand, pine cones, acorns, etc.  As teams create art from these materials, they use color, shape, light, pattern and the landscape to discover the simple miracles of everyday life… and the fragile relationship between people, nature and the passage of time. 

The teams use digital technologies to document their art.  Back in the classroom, the teams use oral and written language skills to explore and create their own poetry….in one or more languages.  Teams collaborate to layout, design and publish a full-color, high-quality book of their art and poetry… or they design and publish full-color posters showcasing their work.  Multiple languages can be featured in the books or posters.  Finally, each team develops and executes strategies for sharing their Voices project with other audiences through performance. 

In the Voices process, students and other people can:

  1. Explore and discover a local landscape
  2. Create and photograph art made from natural materials
  3. Write poetry that gives “voice” to their art, language and culture.
  4. Use technology to design books/posters of their art and poetry.
  5. Publish their work and share it with people in other places.
  6. Use dramatic arts to create performance from art and poetry.
Voices from the Land projects have been implemented in preschool through secondary level classrooms… with students of average, gifted or special needs… in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Turkey Spain, Italy, Poland, Latvia, Romania, and New Zealand… providing a way for students to explore world languages, cultures, and landscapes.  View the Voices from the Land in Italy You Tube video (at the Presidential Estate Natural Preserve)

Learning outcomes of the Voices process:

  •  Generate writing and develop communication skills across the curriculum
  • Communicate, collaborate and negotiate as a member of a creative team
  • Express thoughts, ideas and experiences through written and oral language and performance
  • Embed language and science in everyday experiences
  • Use internet-based applications to document, lay-out, design, and publish student products
  • Draw inspiration from the land that sustains us all, and appreciation for the landscapes of the local community.

Some Voices partners:  Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, October Hill Foundation, William Paterson University [NJ], West Texas A&M University, Bergen Community College [NJ], Urban Promise [NJ], Education Service Center Region 16 [TX], The Walden Woods Project [MA], Winnipeg City Schools [MB], Fairfax County Schools [VA], Bluewater District School Board [ON], Rainbow District School Board [ON], Little Lions Waldorf School [ON], Kizilhisar School [Turkey], The Pacanda Island School [Mexico], Santa Fe de la Laguna Schools [Mexico], Emiliano Zapata Salazar School, Chiapas [Mexico], Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge [NJ], Heartland AEA – Des Moines [IA],  Mansfield School District [OH], Liberty Baptist School [CA],

Contact: Brian Hayes bhayes@eirc.org or write: Voices at EIRC 107 Gilbreth Parkway, Suite 200, Mullica Hill, New Jersey, USA  08062  Phone: 856-582-7000 x110

Click here for our printable brochure:   Voices from the Land – Project flyer