Aqua Marooned! is the new unique and interactive card game created by Adrienne Mackey and her artistic collective SWIM PONY that can be played wherever one can find nature. Featuring three sets of colorful illustrated cards—the nature core deck, the Lenni-Lenape expansion deck, and the Schuylkill Center deck—each game reveals its own exciting challenge or question. Players will stroll along our trails, responding to prompts silly, physical, reflective, and everything in between—finding and deepening their connections to the natural world.
Launched in November, 2021
Organized by Tina Plokarz and Emily Sorensen
Aqua Marooned! is a nature-dedicated tarot-sized card game, illustrated by Philadelphia-based illustration team WaterWays and commissioned by the Alliance for Watershed Education. It aims to stimulate dialogue between players and the unique landscape of the Delaware River watershed. Aqua Marooned! playfully invites its participants to mine their own understanding of the region’s watershed, learn more about its people and the sites that advocate on its behalf. While examining past experiences with nature that have had a meaningful impact on their lives, the card game allows for new creative, holistic, personal connections to the complex tapestry of water, land, flora and fauna.
Live play-in of Aqua Marooned!
Saturday, Sept 17, 2022 / 10:30am / Free
We join with the Mural Arts Institute for a live play-in of Aqua Marooned! as you hike the trails. This event is a family-friendly way to explore our 340 acres of land with the Aqua Marooned! extraterrestrial characters as explorers are sent to learn Earth’s mysterious “watersphere.”
Aqua Marooned! is a new card game that premiered in Fall 2021 across the Delaware River Watershed, commissioned by the Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River (AWE). The game is part of the region-wide art initiative Lenapehoking~Watershed and connects the three states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware through humor, wit, and nature exploration. Created by Philly-based immersive experience company Swim Pony and meant to be played outdoors, the game’s beautifully-illustrated cards cast players as extraterrestrial explorers sent to learn Earth’s mysterious “watersphere.” A super-sized Lenape expansion deck, created in collaboration with a circle of local Lenape advisors, gives players an opportunity to delve into the Indigenous perspectives. Using vibrant pictures of plants, animals, and the environment as well as a cast of playful alien characters, the game seeks to create a fun and engaging experience for players of all ages and experience levels.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Aqua Marooned! aims at offering a unique gateway experience for new guests to environmental centers throughout the Delaware Watershed. Created by Mackey along with an interdisciplinary team of creators, the game uses short interactive challenges to get players excited and curious about the surrounding area. Prompts range from the silly—Find a dead thing and give it a heartfelt eulogy. Most heartfelt wins—to the physical—First to race to this object wins the points—to the reflective—Sit in silence and notice the sounds around you. The design is uniquely accessible, inviting those without an instinctual comfort in nature to engage in a non-intimidating, playful way while allowing more experienced nature-goers to deepen their connection.
Aqua Marooned! casts a band of extraterrestrial explorers curious to learn as much as they can about the earth’s mysterious “watersphere.” Card prompts emphasize underlying principles of appreciation and emotional connection to the flora and fauna of the watershed, and take a wide variety of forms to engage players across personality types and skill sets.
The game is free to take throughout the tri-state region of the watershed. Players will receive a core deck of cards with 40 main prompts, a rule book and pull-out “water log” map of the watershed, connecting the 23 AWE sites. Additionally, the Schuylkill Center offers its own Expansion deck, featuring special not-to-miss insights and curiosities about the Schuylkill Center’s grounds developed by its staff. An additional expansion pack delves into the local Indigenous history of the Lenni-Lenape tribe, developed by working directly with the tribal members of the Nanticoke to instill a sense of understanding and reverence for the original caretakers of this land.
Aqua Marooned! is a simple and delightful way to learn about nature and connect anew with our surroundings. Join us—it’s so ridiculously fun to play.
Mission Captain: Adrienne Mackey
Co-Pilot & Mission Scribe: Bradley Wrenn
Interstellar Illustration & Design: Bri Barton and Meg Lemieur
Galactic Communications Chief: Nazlah Black
Osmotic Investigator: Jen Sung
Flight Scheduling Officer: Sara Wolff
Indigenous Specialist: Trinity Norwood
Tactical Outreach: Priscilla Bell, José Ortiz-Pagan, Ricky Yanas
Logistical Support: Teresa Jaynes, Felipe Chor, Alix Rosenfeld, Eva Steinmetz
Commissioned by: The Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River with funding from The William Penn Foundation, The Knight Foundation, The NEA Our Town Initiative, and The Barra Foundation as part of the Lenapehoking~Watershed project.
The card game is part of the larger art initiative Lenapehoking~Watershed with artists Adrienne Mackey and Sarah Kavage by The Alliance for Watershed Education (AWE). The Alliance for Watershed Education is a regional initiative of twenty-three partnering environmental education centers throughout the Delaware River Watershed in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The Alliance is striving to provide meaningful opportunities to engage the thousands of outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy the local trails and waterways, and to build a new constituency for protection of clean water among all those living near and visiting the region.
Learn more about Aqua Marooned! as part of Lenapehoking~Watershed HERE
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Adrienne Mackey (lead artist) is a multidisciplinary artist who explores the potential of performance and play. With her company, Swim Pony, she’s created works including SURVIVE!, a 22,000 sq-ft interactive science installation; The Ballad of Joe Hill, a production incorporating song, storytelling, and movement to convey the events surrounding the life of the eponymous labor organizer and staged at the historic Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia; War of the Worlds, an innovative mixture of site-specific live performance and games with Drexel University’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio; The End, a month-long mixed reality game exploring fears about mortality; and TrailOff, a mobile app using GPS to embed stories on Pennsylvania nature trails. Mackey is an Independence Foundation Fellowship awardee and, with Swim Pony, a two-time recipient of the Knight Arts Challenge grant in Philadelphia. She is the originator of CROSS POLLINATION, a residency program in which 32 artists took part in documented interdisciplinary collaborations and she also writes for Swim Pony’s blog, which boasts over 50,000 views to date. Mackey holds an MFA in game/theater from Goddard College, is a classically trained soprano, former chemistry major, and currently teaches acting, directing and devising for University of Washington’s School of Drama.
Bradley Wrenn (co-writer) is a producer, performer and writer based in Philadelphia. Bradley is co-artistic director of The Berserker Residents, a theater company dedicated to original comedic productions that spring from improvisation and curiosity. His work has been hailed as “daft, ephemeral and joyous” by The Scotsman and he has been praised for his “refusal to relinquish that unrefined creative spirit” by the New York Times. Bradley has performed at the Abrons Art Center (NYC), the Annenberg Center (Philadelphia), and with the San Francisco Mime Troupe. He has been artist-in-residence with FringeArts and University of the Arts in Philadelphia, as well as at Drew University in Madison, NJ.
Bri Barton (illustrator) is an artist and educator. Her work elevates and embodies earth worship, racial and environmental justice, and defiant celebrations of life. She uses paint, ink, shadows, light, and story to create art that is collaborative, participatory, and informative. She is co-creator of WaterWays, a series of collaborative drawings illustrating the unfolding story of natural gas resistance in the Mid Atlantic Region. Bri is a founding member of the multi-disciplinary painting troupe, ROMPUS. Bri is the writer and illustrator of Everything Dies! A Coloring Book About Life!. Her freelance illustration work includes album art, event posters, tattoo designs, and custom stationery. She also teaches garden education and botanical illustration for all ages. Bri graduated Valedictorian from Moore College of Art in 2011 with a double-major in Fine Art and Curatorial Studies.
Meg Lemieur (illustrator) is freelance illustrator based in the ancestral lands of the Lenni Lenape, now known as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With Bri Barton, she is co-creator of WaterWays. She illustrates using pen, paper, and digital color. Her work focuses on natural and urban environments and subjects, while lending her skills to numerous environmental and racial justice issues. When she isn’t drawing, Meg builds fluffy puppets, plunks away on her piano, tends to her little garden, hikes amongst the tallest trees, and reads about dinosaurs.
Swim Pony (game design) Loud, strange and never seen before on earth! Founded in 2009 by artist Adrienne Mackey, Swim Pony creates unique and deeply investigated live experiences that defy tradition, and invite audiences to become curious, critical thinkers in the world. Swim Pony’s collaborative team of writers, administrators, designers and community outreach coordinators worked together with 19 AWE centers to build this interactive card game aimed at stimulating dialogue between players and the natural world. www.swimpony.org
Trek ’n’ Game
October 9, 2021 2–4pm
Aqua Marooned! is our new nature card game. Stranded from the planet VoDA, aliens Pinny, Scuttle, Zan, and Coco explore their surrounding waterways and investigate nature on Earth. Trek around the Center’s ponds, creeks and hidden tributaries that feed into the Delaware River watershed. The card game (for ages 16+) was developed by interactive game designer Swim Pony in association with the Alliance for Watershed Education.
ABOUT OUR SUPPORTERS
Lead funding for Lenapehoking~Watershed is provided by the William Penn Foundation (administered by the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education). Aqua Marooned! is further supported by the Knight Foundation, the Barra Foundation and The NEA Our Town Initiative.
The Schuylkill Center’s environmental art program is supported by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.