San Antonio Zoo Celebrates International Mud Day
International Mud Day started in 2009 with a conversation at the World Forum on Early Care and Education in Belfast. Gillian McAuliffe reflected on the first Mud Day in an article in Wonder, the newsletter of the World Forum's Nature Action Collaborative for Children:
In Belfast at the World Forum, Bishnu [Bhatta] had shared with the NACC [Nature Action Collaborative for Children] Leadership Team that in Nepal some children could not play in mud because they did not have a change of clothes and they had no money for soap. On returning to Australia, and while planning the building of a mud hut with a group of six and seven year olds, I mentioned this discussion.“Imagine if you could not play in mud?” “Imagine if you could not have fun.” They were horrified that any child, anywhere, would not be able to play in mud due to a lack of a change of clothes. “I can send them some of my clothes.” “My mum can sew; she can make them clothes.”The project became a focus of the class when the children decided that the best way to help some children in Nepal would be to send money to them so they could buy clothes in their own city. During the weeks that followed, a sponsorship plan raised $1,000AUS for the project, which grew to include not only clothes, but also a meal for the children in Nepal who had not had a meat meal for four months.The project also became about Bold Park in Australia having a ‘Mud Day’ at the same time as Nepal. Somehow the concept of children choosing to play in mud on the same day emphasized that we are all connected to the Earth and, therefore, to each other.
Since then, International Mud Day has grown into a global celebration on June 29th every year. Natural Start member San Antonio Zoo shared photos of their celebration this year with us, and we couldn't resist sharing them with you. According to the zoo's Education Manager, Stacy McRenolds, the event is "one of the guest favorites with good number of folks making a point to come each and every year."
To share how you or your organization enjoyed International Mud Day, contact us.