April 29, 2022
Aqua Marooned! is a new card game premiering in conjunction with the nation-wide Celebrate Trails initiative and is available to play and take home for free at 23 environmental centers across three states connected to the Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River (AWE).
Inspired and informed by the region’s Lenapehoking tribal community and created by Philly-based immersive experience company Swim Pony, Aqua Marooned! is meant to be played outdoors. Using vibrant representations of plants, animals, and the environment as well as a cast of playful alien characters, the game’s richly illustrated cards cast players as extraterrestrial explorers sent to explore earth’s mysterious “watersphere.” The game seeks to create a fun and engaging experience for players of all ages. Free game decks are available at participating AWE nature centers throughout the region.
Though Aqua Marooned! takes inspiration from traditional party games like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, it is designed to help people connect with the outdoors. Players set out in groups of three or more to explore AWE sites, using a core deck of cards that playfully invites “Crew Members” to call on their powers of observation, inventiveness or wit. Card challenges include things that ask players to get creative ( Find a dead thing and give it a heartfelt eulogy. Most heartfelt wins. ), use their bodies (Race to the nearest body of water), and reflect on the natural world (Define what “nature” is and is not).
Aqua Marooned! was conceived by Adrienne Mackey, founder and artistic director of Philly-based Swim Pony, an experience design company that develops innovative, immersive experiences of play. During the course of its three-year development, the company collaborated with illustrator/graphic designers Meg Lemieur and Bri Barton, co-writer Brad Wrenn, representatives from AWE Centers, and a Lenni-Lenape Advisory Circle led by Trinity Norwood, Project Advisor for the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. Members of the Norwood family played the game for a video filmed at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education , produced by “15 Minutes” Inc. and Gallantry Media.
More about Lenapehoking~Watershed Art Project: The L~W Art Project is a multifaceted art project that aims to introduce Lenapehoking residents to their watershed. A program of the Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River (AWE), this initiative winds its way through the landscapes and waterways of the Delaware River Watershed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Aqua Marooned! is one of two innovative and completely unique artist-driven projects activating the AWE environmental education centers as part of Lenapehoking~Watershed. The other is Water Spirit, a series of plant-based sculptures by Sarah Kavage that serve as focal points for events and community gatherings. The name, “Lenapehoking~Watershed, a place for water, art and culture” was chosen after consulting with citizens of our local Lenni Lenape Nations. “Lenapehoking” is a place name that means “the land of the Lenape people.” Foremost, as this is an initiative about the land and the water, the L~W team acknowledges Indigenous cultures' environmental stewardship as critical.
Lead support for the Lenapehoking~Watershed is provided by the William Penn Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Barra Foundation, the Delaware Division for the Arts, the Joseph Robert Foundation, and the Velocity Fund.
About Alliance for Watershed Education: The Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River (AWE) aims to raise awareness and appreciation of the 13,500-square mile system which provides clean drinking water for 13 million people. AWE is comprised of 23 environmental education centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware that share a mission to collectively increase and enhance constituent access to and stewardship of the Delaware River watershed. Through aligned communications, joint programming and shared best practices, AWE works toward inspiring diverse communities and people empowered to sustain a healthy Delaware River watershed. Visit watershedalliance.org for information about AWE centers and programming.
Generous funding is provided by the William Penn Foundation, which aims to create the long-term conditions that will ensure the watershed supports aquatic life and recreation in and on the water.