Sleepy Hollow Teacher Creates Sustainability Card Game

Michael and Kristin Quell-Garguilo with their kids Aurora (6) and Celeste (3).

Sleepy Hollow Middle School science teacher Michael Garguilo has a passion for both educating his students and spreading the message of sustainability. “Environmentalism has always been one of my passions,” stresses Garguilo. “Our school is environmentally leading the way by working with administration and making sure we do the best we possibly can.” For his part, Garguilo ran the Environmental Action club at the school for many years and won many awards while doing so, one being the Green Flag award for the National Wildlife Federation. 

In Garguilo’s personal life, Garguilo not only helps manage gardens around his home, but he is a member of Pollinator Pathways, a group that unites gardens together, so that bees and butterflies are able to become more biodiverse. 

Creating People, Planet, Profit 

“I am always looking for ways to take direct instruction while teaching students something new and then giving them the opportunity to have a hands-on experience,” states Garguilo. Garguilo began thinking of how he could turn a lifetime of experiences into a 20 minute game where his students could keep making choices. Garguilo developed People, Planet, Profit, a card game to help students understand how to make balanced life decisions. “For example, sometimes things hurt you financially, but they help the environment and you can’t go all for the environment or else you become poor, so you have to balance things in life,” explains Garguilo.

Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects where each project creator sets their projects funding goal and deadline. If the project reaches its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when the deadline is up.

Garguilo’s Kickstarter goal is to create a physical set of the game made of high quality poker-style cards. As we went to press, Garguilo has pledges of $639 of a $4,000 goal with a January 27 deadline. In other words, he needs your help to spread the message about his game and the importance of sustainability in today’s society. 

Family Involvement

After attempting to draw pictures on the cards himself, Garguilo’s wife, an artist, suggested that she take over this task. “We had our two daughters in mind while creating the game,” says Garguilo. “They are the little girl silhouettes in the paintings, depicting what a better tomorrow would look like if a child was looking into the future.” 

Garguilo states that he is constantly sharing ideas about the game with his six-year-old daughter and he is amazed that she is able to make decisions without knowing true societal guidelines. “If a six-year-old can get it, everyone can get it,” says Garguilo. 

Impact

The game is still developing, with Garguilo refining as he plays each time. Still, every time Garguilo plays the game with his students, the conversations that have come out of it and the lessons they take home have been so valuable to him. “The game is all about reflection and giving younger students the opportunity to make adult decisions,” emphasizes Garguilo. 

Visit Kickstarter to back Garguilo’s project and spread the message of sustainability around the world. 
kickstarter.com/projects/spookandy/choose-a-better-tomorrow-card-game-book

Rebeccah Worth is a freelance writer based in Northern Westchester.

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