Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts.
Dear Parents, Guardians, Students, Staff, Friends—Community,
All of us here at Biocitizen hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy, and remain so. As treasured members of our community, you have been on our minds during this COVID-19 crisis.
Like so much in the world right now, Biocitizen is in a suspended and vulnerable state. We’re taking in information as it comes and adhering to best practices, prioritizing the safety of our students and staff above all else. I’m writing to you today to explain how Biocitizen is interpreting the crisis, how we’re responding, and what we’re asking of you, as our supporters and community members. Making a donation here would make a huge difference right now.
Governor Baker appears to be doing everything he can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As new information appears, he changes his directives. Because of this, it is difficult to envision exactly what Biocitizen summer programming will be. We await the determination about what will and won’t happen in Massachusetts from mid-June through the end of August. More detailed information about this is found below.
The feeling of “not having power over the story that dominates our lives” is unpleasant. We’ve never experienced a pandemic before and we reel—but not alone. Our challenge is to survive and remake our world into something better than it was before. We are in this together.
Our way of inhabiting the places we live in—locally, nationally, globally—is the source of our present biological crisis, and of global heating and related crises. For 11 years, Biocitizen Field Environmental Philosophy (FEP) classes have enriched students’ lives by letting them explore our place, nurture biophilia (love of biological life), and learn how to read the land’s ecological and human stories, also known as its biocultural history. Amidst all the fun and new-friend-making, our students gain a way of viewing the world that is “biotic.” A biocitizen is a person who recognizes they are connected to, and composed of, the living systems that surround them.
In a drastic, abrupt, and tragic manner, COVID-19 makes us see the world biotically. The fear we are feeling has forced us to develop an extreme sensitivity to the places we live; contrast that with the way Biocitizen nurtures sensitivity to the living systems that are our place.
Our mission is to create young biocitizens by encouraging them to explore and love their place and, inspired by that love, to re-envision and re-make it into something better. Places are stories we live in—that is what they learn when they walk with us. When they know the story they live in, they can revise and retell it. They can make it a better story. Let us rephrase, then, Rushdie’s observation this way: Biocitizen gives students “power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, because they are empowered, and can think new thoughts.”
We want to thank you for supporting the only school in the world devoted exclusively to FEP, an experiment in childhood education. We must now ask you to continue supporting us in this devastating time as we assess how the crisis has impacted and will continue to impact Biocitizen’s work and ability to survive.
In the face of the crisis, Biocitizen is in urgent and desperate need of funds.
The impact on our school has already been devastating. We are currently unable to cover operating expenses—such as staff salaries, insurance costs, and infrastructure payments. This puts Biocitizen at high risk for permanently closing our doors. If you are able, we would like to suggest a few ways you could help Biocitizen survive in this time of great need.
If your summer session is cancelled or you have to withdraw, we are asking families to consider donating tuition payments. Biocitizen is a non-profit educational institution and your donation is tax deductible. We are also accepting emergency donations to keep us afloat.
Can we count on you for a gift of $100 or $175 to help us through these unprecedented times?
Biocitizen will follow all state and federal guidelines and policies. At present, that means scheduled Our Place sessions will be held. Since it’s possible that some sessions may be cancelled for June, but remain open for July and August, we have a “wait-and-see” cancellation policy.
If the governor cancels outdoor activities during scheduled sessions, tuition refunds will be granted under our medical excuse policy.
On behalf of all of us here at Biocitizen,
WE WANT TO WALK WITH YOU!!!