recess radio program

06/02/05
Jack Johnson's Three R's
    by Stephanie Sullivan Lytle

Finding a real jack of all trades is indeed like finding a bird of paradise in Wisconsin. But you might not want to let Jack Johnson in on this, as he seamlessly flows between the trades of professional surfer, award winning film maker, world renowned singer, poetic song writer, and groovy acoustic guitarist. This bird of paradise is a native of Oahu's North Shore who sauntered onto the music scene just a handful of years ago and currently is on a world tour.

But it's not just Jack's three amazing CD's that stop you in your tracks, or his two epic surf films, or even his latest project of composing the music for the upcoming children's movie, Curious George. What takes your breath away is his love for all things green-specifically the lush ecosystem of Hawaii, the tropical paradise he calls home. Jack has used his repertoire of trades and talents to create, promote, and execute an earth-friendly annual Hawaiian music extravaganza: The Kokua Festival. In the Hawaiian language, Kokua means to help, and helping to protect Hawaii's delicate environment is what the festival's proceeds hope to do, after the music fades away.

Jack Johnson and his wife Kim (a former teacher and now Jack's manager) have created the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting and preserving the environment through grade-school environmental awareness programs. Thus far, the foundation has focused on donating materials and resources necessary for teachers to pursue environmental studies with young children, as well as working to create healthier lunch programs, launching recycling and organic gardening programs, and educating students about alternative energy and earth-friendly practices. Although some of us may still remember the day when the three R's were: reading, writing, and arithmetic--Jack's got three new R's for the kids: reduce, reuse, and recycle. With the old-school, folk-rock beat of "Three's the Magic Number" (a.k.a. Schoolhouse Rock), Jack strums his new tunes with the children of Sunset Beach Elementary, his old stomping ground, to pump up excitement about living in harmony with the environment. He shows up to area elementary assemblies on his bike with his trusty acoustic guitar in hand, and a surfboard tucked behind the bushes for later. A regular jack of all trades. Here is a snippet of his trademark children's groove.

Brief Sound Clip:

Copyright 2005 Stephanie Sullivan Lytle

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Tuesday, 03-May-2005 09:30:02 EDT


"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."