Hand-crafted elephants promote peace, humanity.

A dozen elephants crafted with recyclable materials by area school-children were displayed in the MCCC cafeteria.

The elephants were brought to the college on Sept. 28 for “The Gathering.” The fourth annual fundraising event helped support the River Raisin Institute and its efforts.

Students and faculty got the opportunity to see the beautiful hand-crafted elephants before they were shipped to their final home.

The idea came from South African artist Andries Botha who created the first life-size elephant known as, Nomkhubulwane (Nom-koo-bul l-WAHnee) which in Zulu stands for Mother Earth.

“The elephant is a metaphor that awakens the yearning for forgotten conversations between humans, the Earth and all living things,” said Botha.

Much like humans feel love, pain and a strong sense of community, the idea is well-fit for the elephant to be so symbolic.

It’s a way to bring us back to where we are from and remember we have to take care of our earth, Botha said.

It’s also a reminder that we have to take care of each other as well.

“The elephant is a metaphor of the connection between humans and a planet in crisis,” said Danielle Conroyd, project Manager for the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the River Raisin Institute.

“Elephants are communal animals; they have memories and create paths for humans to find their way,” she said.

The objective behind this project is to raise awareness about sustainability and bring our communities together to take a stance against environmental abuse, Conroyd said.