Marin Horizon School Ecology Carnival


The Marin Horizon School Earth Day Project was inspired by the floats and costumes of Caribbean Carnivals where floats are often make from salvaged materials and powered by humans, not motors. These floats are often followed by groups of allied marches who wear costumes.

Before the week long residency, Trisha and David met with the students in the first through eighth grades and explained their plan to build floats and costumes that would celebrate flora and fauna of distinct ecological zones. They showed the students pictures of Carnival floats and costumes from Trinidad and described a range of ecological zones and their inhabitants. The student chose four ecological zones: the polar, the ocean, the jungle and the desert. Working from student drawings, Trisha and David developed costume and float designs to represent the plants and animals of these zones.

Student in recycled materials cactus costume

Grendel’s Mother arrived at the school with the salvaged materials and float armatures. Over the week they worked with more than 120 students. Children from the youngest grades painted and applied paper mache to floats and costumes, while older students and parents were given utility knives and glue guns. The morning of the parade students chose their parade costumes and duties in a lottery. Each eco-zone assembled its team and the parade began. The students marched around the school twice and then assembled in a circle on the black top. Each eco-zone was then called out into the center of the circle where its team members danced and role played to live music.

Scorpion parade float -
paper mache, steel, plastic



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