Spirit Skies is a four part graphic novel collaboration between Canyon Crest Academy's Humanities and Envision Visual Arts Conservatories. The graphic novels teach about environmental stewardship, community, and history of each region through the eyes of a hummingbird.
See below to watch our San Diego Comic Con Panel from July 2020. Scroll below that for more information on the Spirit Skies. For website, click the link below.
For pictures of our two trips to Panama go to the Travel Page
Origin Story: In 2014, CCA Biology teacher Wendy Slijk came to us with an idea to redesign The San Diego Children's Zoo. Her idea was to design the zoo with enclosures that exhibit the different biomes of the Pacific Flyway, with a unifying animal like the Monarch Butterfly or the Rufous Hummingbird. Due to their migration routes those animals pass through all four biomes. After speaking with folks at the San Diego Zoo, we realized that we had neither the money or time to complete that task. At that point, one of my students had an idea. When she was a young girl, she was stuck in the hospital with nothing to read. As she looked out the window a hummingbird flew by the window. "Why don't we make a comic book then?", she said. I would have loved to have been able to read a comic. The project sprung from a conversation at this table at CCA (above), and in recognition of Ms. Slijk the students made sure the main character in Spirit Skies was named "Windy" for her name and because it is the name for hummingbird in the Mayan language.
Patti Fox, from the Fox Collective invited the coordinators and ECH Guest Scholar and CCA Social Science teacher, Ms. Melkonian to visualize the project through collaborative painting. Patti gave us our artistic confidence to move forward. We miss her now that she is gone.
Mike Towry of San Diego Comic Fest, Big Red Hair Productions and Boilerplate where we learned how to pitch and present, to the San Diego City Council to Mayor Blandon of Panama, to our panels at San Diego Comic Con, Stan Lee's Comic Con and San Diego County Arts, we have presented Spirit Skies over 15 times.
And now to publication and release to the world.
Special thanks to Joanne Couvrette from the Canyon Crest Foundation, and Anne Whattoff Director of the Envision the Arts Program at CCA.
Without the creative geniuses of Envision Visual Arts Conservatory Coordinator Jesse Mortensen, who led the student artists to Guest Scholar in creative writing Betsy O'Neil Phd, who lead the editors in storytelling, none of this would have been created.
Special Thanks to Mike Towry of San Diego Comic Fest, Big Red Hair Productions and Boilerplate where we learned how to pitch and present, to the San Diego City Council to Mayor Blandon of Panama, to our all who came to our panels at San Diego Comic Con, Stan Lee's Comic Con and San Diego County Art Power Festival. We have presented Spirit Skies to the public over 15 times.