Monthly Archives: March 2013

MUZEO TrashARTist Challenge Exhibit and Expo

MUZEO TrashARTist Challenge 2013


It is my personal pleasure to share with you that my 7th Grade Color & Design class students have been entered into a Trash Art Challenge and their work is part of a larger exhibit at the MUZEO Museum in Anaheim, CA. 241 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805

Submissions will be on display at MUZEO for viewing and People’s Choice voting from April 6 to April 20.

Please visit the exhibit and VOTE for my El Rancho Charter School submissions.

“Tree of Life”

On April 20 from 12 pm to 3 pm, TrashARTist Challenge participants and the community come together for a FREE festival featuring conservation & recycling vendors, giveaways, craft booths, music, entertainment and more! This family-friendly event celebrates sustainability and recognizes winners and prize recipients from the TrashARTist Challenge.

The TrashARTist Challenge is a unique, environmentally conscious event connecting more than 400,000 students, administrators, city and business leaders by focusing on conservation and recycling through the Arts!

Students are encouraged to work as a group to enter an art project made from recycled materials (or TRASH!) to promote a message of creativity and sustainability.

Winners will be announced in the following key categories: 1st Place Award?, 2nd Place Award, Honorable Mention, People’s Choice Award

When the winners will be announced: ? MUZEO’s TrashARTist Challenge 2013 winners will be announced at the MUZEO TrashARTist Challenge Expo held on April 20, 2013. Prizes will be distributed from the main stage. A representative from each group must be present at the expo to receive a winning prize if awarded.

“Helping Hands All Over the World”

Student Collaboration – Book Publication Release “Something in the Yard”

Student Collaboration – Book Publication Release “Something in the Yard”

Full Book Jacket – 2013 Creative Writing and ART illustartion collaboration Project.
Buy your copy at and help fund the Art Department at El Rancho Charter School

We’d be lying if we said we started with some master plan to publish this book. The reality is much humbler, much cooler.

It started with a bunch of students who didn’t likely know they were authors. These writers were just a handful of 200+ students from Mr. Stephens Creative Writing course. They thought they were writing a story for their Honors English class. So did he.

But as he started reading and grading them, he discovered many of them were pretty good, so he threw out the offer to a select few writers: “If you’re interested in revising them, we’ll see if they’re good enough to publish somewhere, somehow.”

This wasn’t for a grade in class . . . it was purely for the joy and possibility of making something lasting. They were into it. A few writers dropped out. It was a lot of work for outside-of-school time. But this choice handful stuck with it.

One day in the office the Art teacher, Mr. Puchalski, and Mr. Stephens got to chatting about the book project. Mr. Puchalski loved it and offered the idea: “What would you think of some of my illustrators partnering with your writers? Maybe they could illustrate a cover for the stories?”

We loved the idea, and soon, the project was flying. Our first meeting had almost 100 artists, all thrilled at this idea. As time ticked on and more effort was required, only the strong and committed stuck with the project. Illustrators competed against each other to create the best cover for the story, and authors got to choose which cover they loved the most.

And here we are.

The collection is done — thirteen original stories accompanied with original artwork, wrapped in original cover artwork. And all of it, created by students with the guidance of Mr. Stephens as the Chief Editor and Mr. Puchalski the Art Director and Cover Design.

So we hope you enjoy our efforts because we sure all enjoyed the journey.


The Book is available on line at

Follow the link to purchase your copy for a discounted price of $10.00 until April 26th.

El Rancho-logo-green


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“Water is LIFE” – WORLD WATER DAY 2013 & NAP Africa Challenge YOU to Care

“Water is LIFE” ~ Nap Africa’s 2013 Water Campaign

in conjunction with

World Water Day ~ March 22, 2013 


Water from NAP Africa’s first borehole flows into a carrying bucket. NAP hopes to build another borehole soon to provide fresh water for growing much needed crops in the NAP sponsored community garden.

You can help make a difference in the lives of others who are extremely less fortunate than you are. Water can be taken for granted, but in countries such as Zimbabwe, it certainly is not, it is about LIFE or death. Read more to found out what YOU can do to help make a difference lending support to the people of the Jabulani village and beyond!

Young Jabulani boys play around an old borehole (water well) pump in the village. NAP Africa is raising money to fund a new borehole to be drilled and constructed in the garden to avoid carrying water bucket by bucket to water their crops and assist with sustaining life in the rural village.

Currently, NAP Africa is seeking funds to build a much needed borehole (water well) to service the Jabulani community garden. The garden is run by the local villagers and their families and serves as a sustainable lifeline to survival in the bush. Currently men, women, and children carry water on their heads in order to keep crops moist.  Water needs have been a growing issue in Zimbabwe, which will prevent farmers from harvesting crops for both their families as well as for having an income source for the village.

Men, woman & children carry heavy buckets of water one at a time back and forth from a single water source to either home, or to the community garden.
Water is LIFE! Just ask these folks.

Estimated costs for a new borehole are close to $10,000 US. With your generous contribution NAP Africa can continue our mission of creating a sustainable environment for thousands of deserving families.

 Today is a good day to fund a borehole! Please help us reach our goal by donating to our Water Campaign 2013. Your donation will directly assist in building a new water source for our Jabulani Community Garden in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa. ;)




A village women helps to plant the young sprouts they raised into a garden trough in the Jabulani community garden.








Todd Puchalski DONATED, WILL YOU? ;) ~






NAP Africa says “THANK YOU”…

We send a big NAP “Thank You” for your generous donations. Please share and follow our progress in building a new borehole for the village at

Your efforts truly make a difference in many lives.



The Last “TALL Blondes” on Earth & Austin Hardwoods Gives Back BIG

“Tall Blondes” are Original Art Carvings of Giraffes from an African Village in Zimbabwe. They are BEAUTIFUL & RARE! ;) ~


Where you can find them in the United States? At Austin Hardwoods in Orange County, CA.


NAP volunteer Richard Orrill stands by a heard of “Tall Blondes” (carved giraffes) at Austin Hardwoods in Orange County, CA


Because the Jabulani Village artists live in Zimbabwe, a country severly impacted by the world’s worst economic crisis and years of political instability, The NAP Africa Humanitarian Organization has tried to showcase their talents by bringing some small carvings back to the US in their travel bags. These are offered privately for donations that help fund village projects.

Prior to the economic meltdown that began in 2002, this was a bustling village, producing world renowned ‘tall blondes’ (Tall Giraffe wood carvings) with their signature one-piece carving style. Exporters shipped several containers a year to the US and sold them across the country. All of that crashed to a halt when the economy made it financially impossible for exporters to work under Zim’s poor economic conditions. The LAST of these magnificent carvings from those by-gone days can still be found in the United States, in Orange County, CA at AustinHardwoods.

Steve at Austin Hardwoods has made a generous offer to anyone wishing to own one of these incredible art pieces. Just ask at Austin Hardwood and help the Artists of Jabulani Village.

610 N Santiago St, Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 953-4000
Mon-Fri: 7am-5pm
Sat: 8:00 am-4:30pm

NAP Africa Board Member Kathy Green gives an original image created & donated by Todd Puchalski to Austin Hardwoods of Orange County, CA for their generous donations and offer to to donate a large portion of the proceeds from the sales of these “Tall Blondes.” The carvings are of one solid piece of wood and the Artists are from the same village and people NAP Africa aims to assist. The money goes back to the projects helping these same exact Artists.



Todd Puchalski has donated an Original Artistic Photography matted print to Austin Hardwoods as a gift on behalf of the NAP Africa organization for its generous donations to NAP Africa gathered from sales of these beautiful, one-of-a-kind and last on Earth village carvings. ;) ~

Surf Shoot Story- with Ryan Schiller

Cool Winter Days in So Cal make for great photo ops in the water; motley blue skies, clear atmosphere, green & clear water, a S & NW swell combo, glassy surface and a whole lot of sunshine. Combine that with a couple surfers and some photo gear. Those are the ingredients for an epic morning along Southern California’s rocky, tropical desert coastline.

3-4 ft. Occ. + on a random set at a “Strands” break. ;) ~ Only way this would have been a better day is if the swell pushed in for larger waves. Stunning!

On this Day, Ryan Schiller and I came out to Photograph a session for his sponsor, Steaz Teaz, organic tea drinks. We chose Salt Creek and Strands surf breaks for the shoot due to the quality of the surf from the combination S & NW swell, the clean conditions, clear water, and of course little barrels and pitched peaks. It was the perfect day to shoot and the sun was rising in line with Ryan’s preferred Right-hand breaks. Light was right, conditions were excellent, experience, color, contrast, pattern, energy, vibe and spirit were all present. Good Times!!!



Ryan Schiller preparing for a little cover up!



Despite the very eye opening 55 degree water, we were able to stave of the numbness for awhile by keeping on the move and staying focused on getting in the waves and getting the shots. Eventually, though, when you cant grip your camera rig or feel the flippers on your feet, you know its time to start thinking about getting back into shore.




“So Much Fun, and what a perfect day! A gift and a great time. Couldn’t have chosen a greater set of circumstance in which to work in, even if it is part-time. I love my Job!”

;) ~







Ryan in a tight tube. “Salt Creek” Break