During the month of December, the SFEG’s Junior Stream Stewards (JSS) program offers an optional art project to the schools involved, giving the students the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned though the program up to this point. In the past, students have created bookmarks showing the complex salmon life cycle and have created collages highlighting aspects of salmon habitat and the Pacific Northwest.
This year, WSC Education Associate KayLani Siplin took on some new ideas. 7th and 8th grade students at both Concrete Elementary and Conway Elementary are in the process of creating murals that showcase icons of their area as well as the salmon that live there. Each student got a section of the mural KayLani designed to color however they wanted using oil pastels. Once all of the pieces are finished, each piece will be put together like a quilt and hung up in the hallway of the schools for all to see. Neither will likely be finished until January, but what has been done so far shows an assortment of bright colors that will come together to be a very interesting piece.
The 7th graders at Edison Elementary used the mediums of watercolor, crayons and salt for their project. Students were asked to (as accurately as possible using those scientific observations we all hope they’ve been making) paint either salmon or things relating to salmon and their habitat. A wide range of designs arose, from bears eating salmon to streams running through forested landscapes. Some of the pieces may not have been entirely accurate (there may have been a shark eating a bear), but it gets them thinking about it.
Many students complained that “I’m not good at art” or “she’s so much better at it than me” and initially it discouraged some. But after discussing how everyone has their own style and that their style won’t change if they don’t keep at it, a little bit more effort was put into the projects. Some faces even lit up when their piece turned out better than they were expecting. Things of course got a little messy, but it is to be expected when students have the opportunity to learn, have fun and be creative all at the same time.